February 26, 2024

Oriole Bird Feeder Use | Attracting & Feeding Birds

Depending on where you live in the U.S. you can expect the orioles to return from mid-April in the south to nearing  the end of May in the North but it’s important to remember that with Oriole’s, timing is everything!

Be sure to have your oriole bird feeder hung in easy view and filled with nectar, oranges, and jelly hung outside a couple of weeks before they are due to arrive.

Orioles are stunning birds and are much anticipated by bird lovers.  Like other species in the bird family, the males are brighter but in Orioles, the females are gorgeous as well.

There are nine species of orioles in the U.S. however only 5 or common enough that you will will probably see them, the others, well you’ll have to go looking for them.

Orioles spend their winters in Mexico and Central and South America, where they can find a steady source of insects, fruit and nectar. Then they migrate north to nest in early spring.

And what a nest they make!  Many orioles find tall deciduous trees, where they carefully weave together plant fiber and sometimes yarn or string if they can find it, to make their nests.  Some orioles will take up to 12 days to construct their pendulous sac-shaped nests which they build on the ends of thin branches.  This placement  keeps the eggs and babies relatively safe from climbing predators and other nest robbers.

Remember this, your chance to see these beautiful orange birds doesn’t last long, because most start to migrate south in August. It’s a thrill to see these beautiful birds for most bird lovers and your chances of seeing them will be lengthened by offering an abundance of food.  These birds arrive hungry and will move on quickly if no food is available.  Whether you spot them for just a day or are lucky enough to have them visit your yard most of the summer, they are one of spring’s greatest bird treasures.

Tips for Attracting Orioles

  • Begin 2 weeks earlier than you expect Orioles to arrive in your area. Your best chance of attracting orioles is when they first arrive in early spring.
  • Use the same nectar recipe for orioles as you do for hummingbirds-four parts boiled water to one part sugar. Keep nectar fresh, change every 2-3 days, and don’t use food coloring.
  • These birds are attracted to the color orange, so they will love this specifically designed feeder for orioles.
  • Make sure your feeder has large enough perches and drinking ports. It’s not unusual for orioles to try hummingbird feeders, but their bills are often too big. Orioles love the color and taste of oranges. Offer orange halves on a branch or feeder. Orioles will also eat grape jelly. Serve the jelly in an open dish or cup, and keep it fresh.
  • When placing the oriole feeder in your yard, think like a bird. Instead of hiding the feeder under an awning or tree, put it out in the open so the birds can see it while flying overhead. If you have a large yard offer more than one feeder.
  • Hang your feeder near a birdbath. If your bath has a mister or dripper, even better. Orioles love the sight and sound of moving water!
  • Put out yarn and string. Hang small pieces from tree branches.  Orioles and other backyard songbirds will use it for their nests.
  • If you don’t attract orioles in your first year, keep at it. It often takes several seasons to find a following.

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