Orioles are insect and fruit eaters. They usually stay hidden in the trees eating and singing their beautiful whistling notes. They can be drawn down from their perches with foods like orange slices, grape jelly, mealworms and nectar feeders.
When not feeding on nectar, orioles seek out caterpillars, fruits, insects, and spiders.
Bullock’s Orioles may feed almost entirely on grasshoppers when they are plentiful, one bird was found to have feasted on 45 of them in one day.
The Oriole nest is an engineering masterpiece. They weave a hanging-basket nest with plant fibers, grasses, vine and tree bark and sometimes string or yarn placed out on the small twigs of a branch 6-45 feet in the air. This keeps them safe from most predators.
The female Bullock’s Oriole is the primary nest weaver, but she may get some help from her mate in both the weaving and collection of nest material. Only the female incubates and broods, both feed the young.
While modern day Oriole nests are made primarily of plant fibers, Oriole nests collected in the late 1800s, before the age of the automobile, were made almost exclusively of horsehair.
Orioles will lay 4-5 eggs anywhere from April to June. The young will fledge as late as 30 days from egg laying.
Orioles are found across North America in the summer. Some species winter in the tropics and others in Mexico.
Most Bullock’s Orioles spend their winters in central and southern Mexico, with a few staying along the coast of southern California.
The Bullock’s Oriole was named in honor of William Bullock and his son, also named William, for their ornithological work in Mexico in the early 1800s.
The oldest banded Bullock’s Oriole ever recaptured in the wild had lived 6 years and 1 month.