Oriole Oriole
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Oriole Migration Update: February 18, 1999

Today's Report Includes:

Exceptional Birds
Baltimore and Bullock's Orioles are on their wintering grounds right now. The vast majority of them are down in the tropics, but orioles are exceptional birds in both beauty and the fact that they take exception to rules. We already have reports of them in southern Louisiana and even of both species as far north as Connecticut!

Down Mexico Way
Down in Mexico and Central America, orioles often associate in small flocks. Orioles can be pretty scarce inland on the Yucatan Peninsula, but Richard Carlson has found big flocks in Acumal, about 100 miles south of Cancun, on the coast. He writes, "Orioles winter in mixed feeding flocks concentrated in two kinds of habitat; coastal brush and flowering trees. Think of a tree with 30 orioles in it or a small patch of cattails with 100's of orioles. The mixed feeding flocks in the Yucatan include Baltimore, Hooded, Altamira, Orange and Yellow-backed Orioles. The Western Mexico feeding flocks include Hooded, Orchard, Streak-backed and Bullock's Orioles. They occur from about Mazatalan south from November through March. The flocks are so large because the habitat is so concentrated, and full of food, and the birds are not fighting to establish individual territories in the winter. Also, the wintering areas are fairly small; all of the Orioles that summer in the U.S. and Canada are stuffed into a few small parts of Mexico. A flock of a hundred orioles is pretty amazing, but it happens all the time in Mexico."

Life in the Tropics
Orioles don't sing very often in mid-winter in the tropics, and don't establish territories down there. Read about how orioles spend tropical days and nights at our Journey North Orioles Wintering in Costa Rica page, and think about how their behavior is different in winter than when they return north in spring. Then answer

Challenge Question # 1
Orioles show several differences in behavior between their northern breeding grounds and their tropical wintering grounds. List as many different behaviors as you can, and see if you can give some reasons why they would change how they act between the two places.

How to Respond to Today's Challenge Question
1. Address an e-mail message to: jn-challenge-oriole@learner.org
2. In the Subject Line of your message write: Challenge Question # 1
3. In the body of your message, answer the question

The Next Oriole Migration Update Will be Posted on March 18, 1999

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