As the middle of summer arrives in Iowa, Baltimore Orioles & Orchard Orioles are getting ready to start their migration back south to Central America, northern South America, and even Florida.
Crazy, right? It feels like they just got here. I hate knowing I won’t get to see these beautiful orange birds until next spring!
At this time of year, a common question I get asked is:
“When do orioles leave Iowa?“
First, let me give you my disclaimer that there isn’t a specific date every year that orioles leave Iowa to head south for migration. They rely upon their instinct to tell them when it’s time to go.
During July, most baby orioles are leaving the nest and becoming independent. Once that occurs and breeding season is over, the parents start molting their body and flight feathers in anticipation of their migration south.
Believe it or not, some orioles leave Iowa as early as July!
But the majority of orioles start their migration south in August.
By September, it’s rare to see any orioles still hanging around.
To attract orioles to their yard, many people set out fresh oranges, grape jelly, and nectar, which orioles will readily consume when they first get back to Iowa in the spring. But as summer progresses and flowers bloom, fruits ripen, and bugs are readily available, orioles don’t need your feeders as much.
So even though orioles may still be in the area, it’s pretty common for them to stop visiting feeders in early summer.
- RELATED: Check out the LIVE bird cameras in my backyard! (You may see an oriole right now)
Most seasons, I put my oriole feeders away in July because the birds have stopped using them! My recommendation is to observe your feeding station regularly, so you know when the orioles have stopped visiting for the year.
Interestingly, you can also TRACK orioles to see if any birds are still in Iowa!
Try using EBIRD to see if anyone has still been seeing orioles near you.
If you want to learn how to use eBird to do this, please watch the video below! (In the video, I am demonstrating how to track hummingbirds, but the same concept applies to orioles. 🙂 )
When do you usually see the last oriole in Iowa?
Please leave a comment below.
Please make sure to mention WHERE you live!
Thanks for reading. 🙂