Most often, the only Baltimore Orioles you’ll find in Northern California are the 6-foot-tall variety that migrate to the Oakland Coliseum a couple of times each year.
Members of Stockton’s Audubon Society, however, are excited about a Baltimore Oriole — the bird, that is — spotted recently at Westgate Landing Regional Park just north of Highway 12, in the Delta west of Lodi.
The bird was first seen by Dave and Pat Croft last Friday, according to local birder David Yee. Several others have since seen him. Apparently he is a very loud fellow, and quite active flying back and forth between the trees in the park.
“Here in San Joaquin County, this is only the second time a Baltimore has ever been found,” Yee wrote me in an email. “The first was back in the early 80s… There are probably less than 10 records total of Baltimore Orioles for the entire Central Valley, so it is a rarity indeed.”
Baltimore Orioles are typically found east of the Rockies, but they do nest as far west as central Alberta in Canada.
And, like any bird that migrates long distances, they sometimes stray far from their typical range. Often, young birds will simply go the “wrong way” and fly west toward California, instead of east where the majority of the population goes, Yee said.
Clearly, these birds need smart phones.
Speaking of which, if anyone gets a photo of our wayward friend, send it my way. Otherwise, it’ll be a long wait for the next opportunity — the rest of the Orioles aren’t due to arrive until early August for a three-game series against the A’s.