- This species' diet includes insects, berries, small fruits, flower nectar, and sugar water taken at oriole and hummingbird feeders.
- The Hooded Oriole's song is a rapid, variable series of short whistles along with rattles, trills, and even imitations of other birds!
- This bird can be told apart from our other local species, Bullock's Oriole, from the male's all-yellow crown, all-black rounded tail, lack of large white wing patch, and more curved bill; the female (pictured above) has a yellow rather than light-colored belly.
Bird of the Month
Hooded Oriole (Icterus cucullatus)
Photo © Bill Hill
Members of this attractive species are relative newcomers to Monterey County. Responding to the planting of palm trees in which it nests, this species expanded its range into central and northern California from southern deserts, reaching Monterey by about 1950. Since then, the species has established itself in neighborhoods with fan palms, especially in Salinas and its suburbs but also on the Peninsula and in Carmel Valley. Today our local breeding population is estimated at around 175 pairs.
After leaving their Mexican wintering grounds, orioles arrive here in early April. Nesting begins by mid-to-late April, with pairs raising two or sometimes three broods per season. The nest, a cup of palm fibers woven onto a palm frond, takes 3-4 days to build. Incubation lasts 12-14 days, followed by fledging at 14 days. Most orioles fly south by late August, although some young birds linger till early October.