Is that black and orange bird a Baltimore Oriole? But it’s much too small! The male American Redstart is a small black bird with vivid orange on its wings, sides, and tail. The female has the same color pattern, but in yellow and gray. Both sexes have a white breast. The beak is somewhat flat.
The American Redstart is very active, constantly in motion gleaning insects from foliage. Sometimes it wiggles and fans its tail to flush out insects. After babies fledge, the parents divide feeding duties, each taking charge of different offspring.
What brings it to the SBG?
Food, cover, nesting sites. Authorities say that the American Redstart prefers interiors of moist old growth forest with shrubby undergrowth, but it will frequent open areas adjacent to forest habitat. During migration it is less selective. The SBG habitat affords plenty of its favorite food (insects and to a lesser extent seeds) and shrubs and tree species where it might nest: alders, birches, hawthorns, and maple, for example.
When can I see it?
In spring and fall it’s migrating through; it may nest here in summer. It spends winters in the Caribbean and northern South America.