RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas – If you want to see beautiful orioles in the Unites states, then the Rio Grande Valley is the place to view these vivid avian specialties. Richard Moore showcases the Valley’s vibrant orioles.
The best place in the United States to see birds is southernmost Texas, with more than 500 species identified, and when it comes to colorful orioles the Rio Grande Valley is the top spot.
Orioles come in a variety of vibrant plumages from flame orange of the Baltimore oriole to vivid yellow of the Audubon’s.
Nine different orioles occur in the United States, and at least half a dozen of them either nest in or migrate thru the Valley.
The Altamira oriole is a South Texas specialty and doesn’t range much farther north. These bright orange birds with black mask construct an impressive hanging basket nest that sways in the subtropical breeze from the tip of a branch in a tall tree.
The similarly plumaged and slightly smaller hooded oriole weaves an exquisite nest sewn into the underside of a palm frond, and when the male arrives with a tasty bug the young pop up with mouths agape.
The female hooded, like other oriole species is not nearly as gaudy as the male. This is likely a valuable adaption as she makes more than twice as many trips to the nest to feed young, and her subdued plumage doesn’t attract the same level of attention as the bright orange male.
The strikingly beautiful Audubon’s oriole is also a year round resident of southernmost Texas, and glows with burnished yellow gold feathering, satiny black throat and head.
During spring and summer migrations brilliant orange Baltimore orioles flit thru Valley woodlands and are joined by orchard orioles sporting richly hued reddish–chestnut breasts.
If you are fortunate, you might glimpse a Bullock’s oriole with its distinctive black eye line pausing to wet its feathers in a South Texas pond.