Orchard OrioleIcterus spurius (Linnaeus)
Status Rare vagrant. The first report of this species in Nova Scotia was of a female collected at Three Fathom Harbour on 6 September 1890 (Piers 1894). Saunders (1902) collected a young male on Sable Island on 15 May 1901. It was not reported again until 1958, when Ralph S. Johnson repeatedly saw an adult male about his garden in Liverpool from 25 May to 5 June. Since then, it has been reported quite regularly. Most birds have come in spring, for which there are some 40 reports of 52 individuals. The earliest was on 15 April 1971 in Yarmouth County (L. Delaney) and the latest among several June records from Sable Island was on 22 June 1975. A male at Lower Ohio, Shelburne County, on 28 June 1966 (B. Harris) was perhaps a would-be breeder, as were a pair that spent two days in an orchard near Wallace, Cumberland County, in Jure 1982 (R.S. Bidwell). Fall vagrants are not as regular, with 14 reports of 18 individuals between 20 August and 3 October. This species has been recorded from Glace Bay to Yarmouth and around the southwestern end of the province to Digby and Annapolis counties, but not yet further up the Annapolis Valley or beyond, except for the above-mentioned report from Cumberland County.
Remarks This oriole breeds from southern Saskatchewan to southern Ontario and northern Massachusetts, south to Mexico. It is slightly smaller than the Northern Oriole, and the rich orange that glorifies the males of that species is replaced by chestnut in the Orchard Oriole. Females and young males are olive-green above and yellowish below, the young males with a distinctive black bib.
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Photo courtesy of Patuxent Wildlife Research Center