How Bout ‘Dem O’s?

Shot of the Month – May 2015
Baltimore Oriole, Vermont (1335)Warning:  There may be a bit too much “inside baseball” chatter in this month’s post but stay with me if you can.  Or at least, do stop long enough to enjoy the pretty picture.

As a child I grew up as a big fan of Baltimore Orioles.  My brother and I shared a room and though we rarely agreed on how that space should be apportioned, we both reveled in having a poster of Brooks Robinson on the wall.  At this time Boog Powell was a household name as was Frank Robinson and Jim Palmer.  Now, if you are bird lover, but not a baseball fan, not over the age of 50, nor grew up within a hundred miles of Baltimore, you are probably thoroughly confused.  And quickly getting bored…

You see I grew up but a mere one hour drive from the city of Baltimore, Maryland, the home of the Baltimore Orioles baseball team.  And it just so happens that their golden era coincided with my youth as they won the world series in 1966 and 1970.  Brooks (3rd base), Boog (1st base), Frank (outfield) and Jim (pitcher) were the all-stars of those glory years.


The only oriole I ever knew of was this guy to the right.  (His looks have changed a bit over the years.)

Oddly, for most of my life I never really thought about what the real version of the mascot actually looked like.  I had no idea where they lived.  I had never seen one even though they are pretty common throughout eastern United States in the summer.  I had to come all the way to Vermont to see my first real life oriole.  And the guy in my photo was a particular treat in that he stopped by for a few days just outside our window during the spring last year.  We live near the top of a mountain and we hadn’t seen an oriole at such an altitude before — nor since.

The bird and the city are both named after George Calvert.  Hang on, I am getting there.  George was also know as Lord Baltimore (ahhh…) and he helped colonize what is now Maryland.  Ok, that explains the city’s name, but what gives for the bird?  The coat of arms for the Calvert family contained a similar color pattern as our avian friend so ye olde bird guys chose that moniker for da bird.  The coat of arms shown here is actually for Cecil Calvert, George’s son, but you get the idea.  If you know the state flag of Maryland, the coat of arms will look pretty familiar.

Coat of Arms of Cecil Calvert, Baron Baltimore

Cecil Calvert Coat of Arms

Maryland State Flag

Maryland State Flag









Wanna take a guess at the state bird of Maryland?

If you live in the right zip code do yourself a favor and go find a Baltimore Oriole — it is a real visual treat.  They can be hard to find however as they tend to hang out at the top of trees.  But catch a male in the afternoon light, against a blue sky and his orange chest will beacon like a burning torch — it is stunning to behold.  Get out there, you deserve it, hon.

Until next month…m


Nikon D4S, Nikon 600mm, f/4, 1/1000 sec, ISO 560