I had always thought that the Baltimore Oriole was named after the city of Baltimore in Maryland. Well, I was wrong. It turns out that both the bird and the city were named after Lord Baltimore, Cecilius Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore (Ballimore), who, following through on his father’s intentions, founded the state of Maryland. The Baltimore Oriole was first described in1731 by Mark Catesby in his Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands. Catesby named this bird the “Baltimore-Bird,” because black and orange were the colors of the Baltimores.
The Baltimore Oriole winters in Belize, southern Mexico, and other Central American countries. It migrates to the eastern United States where it breeds in summer. I’m not sure if Baltimore Orioles are seen around our place in Englishtown Belize all winter long, or if they were just migrating through while we were there in April. They seem to like the sea grapes as much as the Golden-Fronted Woodpeckers do. :-)
Orchard Orioles look very similar to Baltimore Orioles, except with dark chestnut instead of bright orange. They are also a little smaller than are the Baltimore Orioles. They spend a very short breeding season in the north, returning to Mexico and Central America as early as July. I saw only one Orchard Oriole during the 2 weeks we were in Belize, and the photos are not very good. But they are good enough for an ID!