Orchard Oriole – Accepted

1. 21 May 1972

SY male

Deep Springs INY




2. 19–27 Jun 1972


Tilden Regional Park CC




3. 20 Sep 1972


Pt. Pinos MTY




4. 23 Sep 1972


Shoshone INY




5-6. 30 May 1973

female SY male

Scotty’s Castle INY




7. 31 May 1973

ASY male

Mesquite Springs INY





Orchard Oriole – Not accepted, identification not established

05 Dec 1971


Palos Verdes Peninsula LA




26 Aug 1972


Encino LA



not accepted after re-review


Orchard Oriole – Not submitted

30 Sep 1972


Pachalka Spring SBE



SBCM 5057









Figure 315. Records of the Orchard Oriole were reviewed only in 1972 and 1973, by which time it had become known as a rare, regular fall and winter vagrant along the coast from Marin County southward. The species is much rarer along the northern coast and in the state’s interior, and as a spring vagrant. This adult male was photographed during December 2003 in Goleta, Santa Barbara County (Wes Fritz).







Orchard Oriole

ORCHARD ORIOLE Icterus spurius (Linnaeus, 1766)

Accepted: 7 (78%)

Treated in Appendix H: no

Not accepted: 2

CBRC review: 1972 and 1973 records

Not submitted/reviewed: 1

Large color image: see Figure

The northern breeding limit of this oriole’s nominate subspecies extends from eastern Montana and southern Saskatchewan to southern Maine. The southern limit stretches from eastern New Mexico south through central Mexico to northern Michoacán and east to northern Florida. These birds winter from Sinaloa and Veracruz south along both slopes of Middle America to northern South America, casually north to southern Texas and southern California, with scattered winter records from elsewhere in the United States. During migration periods, vagrants have occurred casually north to northern Ontario (Wormington and Lamond 1987) and Newfoundland and across most of the West north to southwestern British Columbia. Fall migrants occur rarely but regularly along the central and southern coast of California and on the Baja California Peninsula. Perhaps most unexpected is a fall record from southeastern Alaska (NAB 57:104). Subspecies fuertesi of Mexico—called the Ochre or Fuertes’s Oriole and considered by some to be a separate species (e.g., Baker et al. 2003)—breeds from southern Tamaulipas to southern Veracruz and winters along the Pacific slope from Guerrero to Chiapas (Jaramillo and Burke 1999). Three records from southern Texas (Lockwood and Freeman 2004) furnish the only United States records.

California’s first Orchard Oriole was a female found dead on 6 October 1932 in Eureka, Humboldt County (Davis 1933, HSU 4838). The CBRC quickly removed this species from the review list after people realized how regularly it occurs along the central and southern coast. Most records involve fall migrants (12 August–22 December, peaking from late September through October), but the species also occurs regularly in winter. Most wintering birds depart by April, but an individual in Pacific Grove, Monterey County, was recorded “into early May” 1963 (Roberson 2002). The species is casual during fall and winter in the state’s interior and along the coast north of Marin County.

Spring vagrants occur casually in the state, possibly including records as early as 17 March and as late as 9 July. Given that this species appears on its wintering grounds by mid July, the 9 July bird, recorded in 1980 on Southeast Farallon Island (AB 34:928), may actually have been an early fall vagrant. The same may be true of one reported on 17 July 1998 in McKinleyville, Humboldt County (Harris 2006). Most spring birds have been found along the coast and in the deserts, but geographic outliers, all males, have been recorded as follows: Yreka, Siskiyou County, 12 May 1980 (AB 34:813); Cuyama Valley, Ventura County, 12 June 1980 (AB 34:931); and Pauma Valley, San Diego County, 30 April 1989 (AB 43:538).

A “young bird” was banded and reportedly photographed on 12 July 1969 at Point Reyes in Marin County (AFN 23:693), but the photographs are no longer extant. As researched by S. N. G. Howell (in litt.), the banding sheet states that the bird’s skull was not ossified, indicating a first-year individual, and other measurements do not eliminate a Hooded Oriole (Pyle 1997b). Since a young Hooded Oriole would be much more likely anywhere in California than would a young Orchard on 12 July, this record should be regarded as equivocal in the absence of substantiating photographs.