It won’t be too long before you can start looking in the shade trees along your city street or behind your house. You may hear the male’s loud, flutelike whistle before you notice the orange and black feathers of a northern oriole flashing among the leaves, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation.

This bird, also called the Baltimore Oriole, spends the winter in Central America and migrates to the mid-west each summer to breed. Another oriole, the orchard oriole, looks more like an American robin or eastern towhee. It has more of a burnt orange color than the northern oriole.

Orioles feed on a steady diet of insects, flower nectar, and fruit, and it may come to nectar feeders designed for hummingbirds. In the Midwest, these natural foods are available only during the warmer months.

Many people attract them to their backyards by offering slices or halves of fresh oranges, or little globs of fruit jam or jelly in little bowls. Do not offer them sugar-free products. Although orioles eat fruits such as wild berries, they eat many more insects, many of which are plant and crop pests.

For more information on Northern Orioles visit Baltimore Oriole Identification, All About Birds, Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

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