orchard oriole

Orchard Oriole

The orchard oriole is North America's smallest oriole, with a short bill and tail. Its chestnut body flashes through old-fields, hedgerows, suburb margins, and orchards in Wisconsin. It is possible that these habitat edges serve as surrogate for the pre-settlement savanna habitat common in southern Wisconsin.


Orchard Orioles were found to have their optimal abundance in oak savannas, one of the most imperiled ecosystems in Wisconsin. Regardless, orchard orioles are seeing increasing numbers in Wisconsin, with populations increasing almost 10% each year from 1966 to 2002, according to the Breeding Bird Atlas.

Orchard orioles belong to the genus Icterus, meaning jaundice. The origin of "icterus" comes from the eighteenth century and referred to seeing a yellow bird, which reportedly cured jaundice.

You can find orchard orioles in Faville Grove's Charles Savanna, just down Prairie Lane. Just don't count on your sighting to cure jaundice.

Photo by Kelly Colgan Azar, Flickr Creative Commons