Maryland State Bird

What Is the State Bird of Maryland?

The Maryland state bird is the Baltimore Oriole, which was adopted in the middle of the 20th century. For a long time, the Baltimore Oriole has been closely tied to the state, particularly since the Oriole is the mascot of the state's famous baseball team, the Baltimore Orioles. Because of its close ties to the state, the Baltimore Oriole was a natural choice to be the state bird. The Baltimore Oriole is also protected by the Nongame and Endangered Species Conservation Act. While this protection is important, the bird has been threatened for the past few decades, with many people working to protect the remaining members of this species.

Why Did Maryland Pick the Baltimore Oriole To Be the State Bird?

In the 1600s, European settlers were arriving in this area for the first time. Lord Baltimore moved to the area to run the early colony of Maryland, and he brought the family's coat of arms with him. The coat of arms contains the same color as the bird, and the historic familial colors are still featured on the Maryland flag. Then, when he saw that there was a bird living in the local area that bore the same colors, the Baltimore Oriole became a natural choice for the state bird.

While the state bird was not adopted for hundreds of years after the early colonial days, residents have loved the Baltimore Oriole ever since that time, making the bird integral to the history of the state.

When Did Maryland Adopt the Baltimore Oriole as the State Bird?

The Baltimore Oriole was first proposed as the state bird in 1947. The state adopted the Baltimore Oriole as the state bird in 1954. Of note, Maryland does not share the Baltimore Oriole with any other state, with many states probably thinking that the Baltimore Oriole is too close to Maryland for anyone else to adopt this bird.

What Are the Defining Characteristics of the Baltimore Oriole?

The Baltimore Oriole has a unique appearance and it does not look like any other bird. The male Baltimore Orioles have black heads, while the females and young birds have lighter, gray heads. The males usually have a single white wing bar, but the females tend to have two.

The Baltimore Oriole is known for its bright golden, orange coloring throughout its body. There aren't any of the birds that have this color pattern, which makes the Baltimore Oriole easy to spot. The Baltimore Oriole will grow to about 0.08 pounds, and the wingspan is usually about a foot.

The male Baltimore Orioles are responsible for finding territory, marking it off, and protecting it. Then, the male Baltimore Oriole will sing to the female birds in the area, trying to attract them to their nest. The goal is to get the female to mate with him to produce more babies. If another male tries to enter the breeding territory, the first male will try to fight him off.

Maryland state bird
Baltimore oriole
Scientific Name
Icterus galbula
Year Became Official

Maryland State Bird