Illustrator Christina Mattison Ebert shares depictions and information on coastal birds
Who can resist noticing the distinctive plumage of the Baltimore oriole as autumn sets in and Halloween approaches? This easily recognizable bird is the namesake of England’s Baltimore family, whose heraldic crest sports a bold orange and black pattern. Like their feathers, the Baltimore oriole’s diet also is quite colorful. The birds tend to prefer feasting on fresh fruit and seem to be particularly drawn to deeply colored fruits like cherries, blackberries and purple grapes. When eating, they use a unique maneuver called gaping, in which they insert their beak into fruit and spread it open to access the juice.
FUN FACT: Female Baltimore orioles are expert weavers. When constructing a nest, females harvest plant fibers and weave them together into an intricate hanging basket, using soft materials like cottonwood fluff to add cushioning. The process often takes one to two weeks.