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Backyard Birding: Citrus-loving Orioles whistle rich, beautiful songs

By playing an Oriole's song from a wireless speaker, Jon Vopni was able to capture some close-ups of the brilliant orange birds

Since the pandemic has forced Jon Vopni to stay home more, he's been enjoying the extra time to do some backyard birding.

This week, Vopni is sharing his photos and observations of Orioles. He's also providing some tips on how to attract the brightly coloured birds to your backyard


Orioles are another favourite of mine because of their vibrant colours and clear, beautiful song. (Watch the video below to hear an Oriole song).

I recommend the Merlin Bird ID app to help you identify birds quickly and hear their song. It helps when taking photos if you know the song, then you know what bird is near.

The Merlin app has this to say about Orioles:

“Males are stunning orange with a black head. Females vary from yellowish to bright orange below with a greyish head. Orioles have a blue-grey bill that is sharply pointed. They are often found high in deciduous trees in open woodlands, forest edges, orchards, riversides, parks, and backyards. Rich, whistling song, echoes from treetops. Their phrases vary, but the rich quality of whistled notes is always the same.

Orioles visit feeders with nectar and fruits. Sometimes hybridizes with Bullock's Oriole.”

I start putting out cut oranges and grape jelly in the early spring to attract this beautiful bird.

Once the Oriole has frequented my feeders I set up in an area I want to shoot the bird in and using the Merlin Bird ID app I play the song and calls through my Bose portable speaker to attract him.

As you can see from my pictures it works.

In this case a male was very curious and kept trying to find where the song was coming from, at first he landed near the speaker looking all around it and eventually landing right on the speaker.

This works for all birds and is a great way to get a good shot.

Good luck! and Happy Birding.