Many songbirds are nesting in the Skiatook area these days, including bluebirds, cardinals, mockingbirds, orioles, chickadees, wrens, gnat catchers, finches, meadow larks, buntings, grosbeaks and others.

Two kinds of orioles nest here, the Baltimore oriole and the orchard oriole. Of the two, the Baltimore oriole is the more striking and one of the brightest of our summer birds. The male is black and bright orange, which were the colors of the coat-of-arms of Lord Baltimore, the first governor of Maryland, hence the name. It is the State Bird of Maryland.

The male orchard oriole is black and dark chestnut and could be mistaken for a robin, except for size. A robin is considerably larger and spends its time feeding on the ground. Orioles are up in trees where they feed on insects, caterpillars, fruit and nectar. They can be attracted to bird feeders with orange halves and grape jam. Their nest is cup shaped and woven from plant and other fibers.

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E-mail lindsey.chastain

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Managing Editor

Lindsey is the managing editor for the Skiatook Journal. She holds an M.A in English from the University of Central Oklahoma. Prior to the start of her news career in 2011, Renuard was a professor of English at the University of Central Oklahoma.