Oriole Oriole
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About the Oriole Migration Study
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Oriole Home Page)


Map by
Macalester College

When the oriole returns to its nest in your backyard this spring, it will have just completed a remarkable round trip journey to Central America and back! Plot the oriole's return journey and learn what it takes for this - and other species of "neotropical" migrants - to successfully complete this amazing flight. Neotropical migrants are birds that breed in North America and winter south of the U.S. border. An amazing 333 bird species are neotropical migrants!.

Our story begins with reports from the neotropical migrants' wintering grounds in mexico and Central America. As songbirds cross the Gulf of Mexico on their annual nonstop flight, we'll explore the effect of weather on migration. As the journey continues, students across North America will report backyard sightings when the orioles and hummingbirds return. Student activities will run the spectrum from geography and math to the physical and life sciences. We will explore the physiology of flight, analyze banding data, learn about population dynamics, and learn some ways we can help orioles and other neotropical migrants survive.

What to Report to Journey North
1. Report when your Oriole feeder is up.
As soon as you place your oriole feeder outside, report to Journey North. Now you're ready to watch for your first orioles!

Report your Orioles to Journey North

2. Report the FIRST Oriole you see this spring.
Let us know when your Oriole safely arrives after the long migration from Central America.

3. Report "leaf-out" of your trees.
Here's why: For many songbird species, the timing of spring migration may be related to leaf-out. This is because when leaves emerge, so do lots of insects. Songbirds may fuel their migration by following the leaf-out, and eating the millions of insects available at that time. With your help, we'd like to test whether these spring events are inter-related.

4. Report when you first see Orioles building their nest.
Usually the females are seen flying with nesting materials such as plant fibers or string.

Additional Activities and Resources

Field Checklist for Spring Oriole Observations
Print this checklist and record when these events occur in your hometown:

  • Print and Go Field Checklist (Includes all of the above to report to Journey North.)

Prepare Habitat for Orioles
See these simple ways you can create backyard habitat for orioles. By creating these backyard refuges you can help ensure that the annual migrations to and through your region continue.

Related Lessons and Information

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