Flashy Bullock’s oriole rare sight in Wallowa County

<p>Few Bullocks orioles nest in Wallowa County but can be found in other parts of Eastern Oregon.</p>

Bullock’s orioles are the western version of the Baltimore oriole which inhabits the tree-shaded streets of eastern towns. The males have the same flashy plumage as the eastern species.

All of the orioles build a deep hammock for their nests which are usually hung from the swaying branches of tall deciduous trees. Orioles are classed in the same family as meadowlarks and blackbirds.

Like redwing blackbirds, the male Bullock’s orioles return from their wintering grounds ahead of the females and choose the nesting site.

When the females come north, they both work at weaving their deep hanging basket which is almost always hung from the drooping tips of tree branches where cats and squirrels can’t reach them.

The nests are carefully woven with long fibers and horse hair which are used to tie loops around the tree branches. The bottom is lined with hair and feathers before the females lay their eggs. All of this is accomplished in little more than a week.

There are very few Bullock’s orioles in Wallowa County as I have only seen one pair out by Crow Creek.

They built their nest on the thorny branches of a hawthorn tree. However, they can be found in many other places in Eastern Oregon where they like to build their nests in the tall shade trees around farm houses.

In the Great Plains states where the Bullock’s orioles and Baltimore’s ranges overlap, the two species hybridize.

Another unusual thing about the Bullock’s oriole is both sexes sing, but their songs are different and the females seem to sing more often than the males.

The orioles that we have here in Oregon spend the winter in southern Mexico and Costa Rica. The photo I am submitting shows the beauty of the male Bullock’s oriole.

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