Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Restoring Habitat for the Baltimore Oriole

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Restoring Habitat for the Baltimore Oriole

Article excerpt

Once common in rural and urban areas alike, the Baltimore Oriole is a black and brilliant orange neotropical songbird that nests in a very wide habitat range throughout North America, all the way from the southern states up through Canada and west to beyond the Mississippi River. It winters south to Mexico and throughout Central America, thus the term neotropical.

As part of a class of songbirds with similar migratory and breeding behavior, this species, along with many others like it such as tanagers, warblers, thrushes and flycatchers, is in serious decline in the Americas due to loss of habitat and increased use of pesticides and herbicides.

The Baltimore Oriole is beloved to Maryland. Perhaps no other bird or animal symbolizes the state more. The bright yellow-orange breast and deep black head and back of the male perfectly matched the colors of Lord Baltimore, one of the founders of Maryland, and the colors of this official bird of Maryland are represented in the distinctive Maryland state flag. Once common in farms, orchards and even urban areas, the unusual hanging nest woven by the Baltimore Oriole was a welcome sight in the upper branches of sycamore and elm trees, and the bird's preferred food source - noxious caterpillars, gypsy moths, cankerworms and bagworms - endears it to people even more. …

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