As summer reaches its midpoint in Mississippi, the Baltimore Orioles and Orchard Orioles are preparing to embark on their migration south to Central America, northern South America, and even Florida. Though it may seem like they just arrived, these beautiful orange birds will soon be gone, leaving birdwatchers eagerly awaiting their return next spring. While there is no fixed date for their departure, most orioles begin their journey south in August, and by October, it is rare to see any lingering in the area. As the breeding season ends and their young become independent, the parents molt their feathers in preparation for the long flight. While orioles are attracted to feeders in the spring, as summer progresses and natural food sources become abundant, they rely less on feeders and may stop visiting them altogether. Nevertheless, bird enthusiasts can use tools like eBird to track orioles and see if any are still in the area.
When do orioles leave Mississippi?
As the middle of summer arrives in Mississippi, Baltimore Orioles and Orchard Orioles are getting ready to start their migration back south to Central America, northern South America, and even Florida. It’s hard to believe that they just arrived and now they will be leaving. Many people wonder when exactly these beautiful orange birds will depart Mississippi for their annual migration.
Breeding season and molting
During July, most baby orioles are leaving the nest and becoming independent. Once that occurs and the breeding season is over, the parents start molting their body and flight feathers in anticipation of their migration south. Some orioles actually leave Mississippi as early as July. This is because they rely on their instinct to tell them when it’s time to go.
Early departures in July
It is not uncommon to see some orioles leave Mississippi as early as July. These early departures usually consist of individuals who have already finished breeding and raising their young. Once their parenting duties are complete, these orioles start molting their feathers in preparation for their long journey south.
Migration begins in August
The majority of orioles start their migration south in August. By this time, most of the breeding and molting activities have taken place, and the instinct to migrate becomes stronger. Orioles start their journey to Central America, northern South America, and even Florida, where they will spend the winter months.
Rare sightings in October
By October, it becomes rare to see any orioles still hanging around in Mississippi. Most of them have already completed their migration and have settled in their wintering grounds. However, there may still be a few stragglers or individuals that have encountered delays along their migration route. These late departures are not typical and are usually the exception rather than the norm.
Feeding habits throughout the summer
To attract orioles to their yard, many people set out fresh oranges, grape jelly, and nectar, which orioles readily consume when they first arrive in Mississippi in the spring. However, as summer progresses and flowers bloom, fruits ripen, and bugs become readily available, orioles don’t need feeders as much. They have access to a variety of natural food sources, making them less reliant on supplemental feeders.
Observing feeding stations
It is common for orioles to stop visiting feeders in early summer as they find abundant food sources in the environment. If you have been providing food for orioles, it is a good idea to observe your feeding station regularly to know when the orioles have stopped visiting for the year. Once you notice a significant decrease in oriole activity, it may be a sign that they have started their migration.
Tracking orioles with eBird
If you are interested in knowing if any orioles are still in Mississippi, you can use a citizen science platform like eBird to track bird sightings in your area. By checking eBird records, you can see if anyone has reported recent oriole sightings near you. This can give you an idea of whether or not there are still orioles lingering in Mississippi.
Last oriole sightings in Mississippi
The timing of the last oriole sightings in Mississippi can vary from year to year. It depends on factors such as weather conditions, food availability, and individual bird behavior. Some birdwatchers have reported seeing orioles as late as mid-October in Mississippi, while others have observed their departure as early as September. It is important to note that these sightings are anecdotal and may not represent the overall population trends.
While there isn’t a specific date every year that orioles leave Mississippi to head south for migration, the majority of the population starts their journey in August. By October, it becomes rare to see any orioles still in the area. Observing feeding stations and tracking orioles using platforms like eBird can provide valuable insights into their migration patterns. As the Orioles bid farewell to Mississippi, bird enthusiasts can cherish the memories of their vibrant presence and look forward to their return next spring.