Don’t confuse this oriole with a baseball team’s mascot

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By Horace Brown

The Orchard Oriole is only 7.25 inches long with a 9.5-inch wingspan and is the smallest member or the Oriole family, so small they often are mistaken for a species of Warbler.
The male is not bright orange and black, as is the more well-known Baltimore Oriole, but instead it is a dark red/orange and black, The female is more of a yellowish olive-green bird as show in the accompanying photograph.
These orioles winter in the tropics, with the males returning in mid-April to Kentucky and begin setting up their territories.
Nest building begins in early May by the female, and she completes the nest in three to six days. It is hung between horizontally forked branches of trees or shrubs, well-concealad among leaves, 4 feet to 70 feet above the ground, but usually 10 to 20 feet.
It is a deeply hollowed, thin-walled, basket-like structure with a contracted rim, securely woven of grasses and lined with finer grasses and some plant down.
Depth is usually less than the outside diameter, and it is not as elongated as the hanging nest of the Baltimore Oriole.
Orchard Orioles often nest in the same tree as the Eastern Kingbird, probably because of the Kingbird’s fierce protection from predators.
Three to seven eggs are laid, with the female incubating for 12 to 14 days. The male feeds the female while she is on the nest.
Only one brood is raised, and most clutches are completed from mid-May to the end of June.
So, if you are eager to try to see and to learn about the Orchard Oriole, you will need to search for this bird between mid-April and the end of August.
They seem to migrate early and feel those southern climes calling in the Great Outdoors.