Do Baltimore Orioles Migrate?

Do Baltimore orioles migrate south, or is it normal to see a Baltimore oriole visit bird feeders in winter? Our birding experts share the answer.

baltimore oriole in winterCourtesy Rich Gess
Last winter we had a pair of Baltimore orioles (male and female) winter over in our backyard. Very unusual for our area. We would hang orange slices from our feeder pole and everyday they would devour a full orange.

“A Baltimore oriole visited our yard in November or December for the past three winters. It ate jelly, cut oranges, and seed from a ground feeder. Do orioles migrate? Should that bird have been somewhere else?” asks Lori Ann O’Shaughnessy of Marlboro, New Jersey.

Yes, you’re right, most Baltimore orioles do migrate to the tropics—or at least to the subtropical edges of the southern United States—for the winter. But during the last couple of decades, increasing numbers have been staying through the winter in the states east of the Appalachians, from Georgia north to New England. The abundance of bird feeders in the region seems to have made the difference. In some Eastern states, people keep their oriole feeders up and filled with grape jelly and oranges to attract them. Apparently Baltimore orioles can survive cold winters as long as they find enough food.

A Baltimore oriole is perched on a branch.Courtesy Tony Wenzel
Baltimore oriole

If you’re looking for Baltimore orioles, consider their favorite habitats. These birds prefer edges of deciduous forests, open grovers and parks and towns with lots of shade trees.

Learn how to attract Baltimore orioles.

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Kenn and Kimberly Kaufman
Kenn and Kimberly are the official Birds & Blooms bird experts. They are the duo behind the Kaufman Field Guide series. They speak and lead bird trips all over the world. When they're not traveling, they enjoy watching birds and other wildlife in their Northwest Ohio backyard.