Findings

Baltimore Oriole © George McLean
Baltimore Oriole © George McLean

The Mass Audubon Oriole Project began in 2005. After a successful five years with 1,500 people submitting over 14,000 reports of orioles, Phase I of the project concluded in 2009. We have now embarked on Phase II.

Mass Audubon scientists, mapping experts, and IT specialists are currently analyzing the first five years of data so that they can be used to track population changes over time. We are also using the data to formulate key questions about oriole behavior that may be answered by our volunteers in future phases of the project.

We still want you to keep track of your orioles and report your sightings. All information is important to us, and your records continue to add to our knowledge about orioles in Massachusetts. A summary of Phase I is now available, and we will keep you informed about the project as we move forward.

Phase I Findings (2005 – 2009)

In addition to assembling a formidable army of oriole counters we have:

  • Created a baseline record of oriole occurrence (and especially nest records) in all regions of the state. This was one of the primary goals of Phase I and is critical to measuring changes in oriole populations in the future.
  • Tested and refined a reporting technology that has become increasingly friendly to both users and analyzers.
  • Greatly expanded awareness in the public at large about the gradual decline of Baltimore Orioles and many other "common" birds that are becoming scarcer year by year in barely noticeable increments.
  • Introduced many people of all ages to one of our most beautiful, musical and interesting songbirds. The comments section of our database is filled with statements like this one from Rosemary Saeed of Malden: I heard the male singing this bright beautiful morning after I had dropped off my son at the Early Learning Center at 8:00 am ~ The male was singing from the top of an oak tree behind the school in a nearby neighbor's yard ~ The song echoed a bit off the steep terrain behind the tree's location ~ beautiful!!!