Baltimore Oriole Nest

by Carl Strang

One way to find a bird nest is to notice a bird carrying nest material, and watch where it goes. If you stay quiet and are far enough away that the bird is not alarmed, this can lead you to a nest under construction. This was how I found the nest of Mayslake’s north savanna pair of Baltimore orioles.

Baltimore oriole nest b

This nest was among the highest twigs in a bur oak. Though it has the classical hanging basket shape, it is not suspended over a stream or trail as is commonly the case. Nevertheless, its location in the outermost extremity of a branch makes it difficult for a climbing predator to find and to reach. The female is the nest builder, but I haven’t managed to get close enough to her for a photograph. I showed the male of this pair a few days ago, and here he is again.

Baltimore oriole 2b

At least one more pair of this species is nesting on the preserve this year. I should mention here that it is best to stay away from the nest as a general rule at least until incubation is well under way. In the early stages the birds haven’t invested so much, and can be quick to abandon the nest if disturbed.


  1. Linda Caviglia said,

    June 18, 2009 at 10:57 am

    I was wondering what might have happened to the Orioles that built a nest in a tree near our deck. We saw (and heard) them for a little over a month… and about a week ago, noticed that the eggs must have hatched because of all the chirping coming from the nest as mom or dad landed on the branch. Then just about 2 or 3 days after noticing the babies voices, we have not seen or heard the Orioles at all.

    • natureinquiries said,

      June 19, 2009 at 6:08 am

      Hi, Linda,
      Songbirds aren’t vocal in the nest until some time after they hatch, but only 2-3 days seems short. Predation is a possibility, or nest parasitism (the latter was the fate of the south savanna nest at Mayslake; I’ll post on that soon). But maybe you just had a quiet group that has fledged.

  2. Linda Caviglia said,

    June 21, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    Thanks, Carl… I hope so… we really enjoyed seeing and hearing them, and I was sad that they might have died for some reason.

  3. March 23, 2010 at 6:11 am

    […] The traces of last year’s nesting season remain, including this Baltimore oriole nest (first mentioned as it was built, here). […]

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