Because of their strikingly beautiful black and orange or yellow plumage, their distinctive whistle, spring songs, and their amazing suspended nest, Orioles are quickly becoming one of America’s favorite birds. While over eight species of Orioles can regularly be seen in the United States, we’ll deal mainly in this article with three species-Baltimore, Bullocks, and Orchard. All United States Orioles show variation on the theme of black with yellow or orange plumage.Except for in the Southeast, all Orioles are tropical migrants. While migrations vary from year-to-year, Orioles generally arrive in the South in early spring, Midwest in early May, and further North soon afterward.
How to Attract Orioles to Your Yard:
Step 1 - Food/Feeding Orioles
It is very important that you have orioles feeders up and ready, or often orioles will pass you by for better feeding grounds. If you wait until you see orioles, you are often “too late” to attract maximum numbers of Orioles to your yard.Provide the proper food. Orioles eat fruit, jelly, and nectar. You will need to decide if you are going to offer your orioles one of these food types or a combination of all them.
Providing oranges is one of the keys to attracting Orioles to your backyard. Simply cut oranges in half and provide them “juicy side out.” There are several feeders you can use to offer oranges to your orioles:
Orioles love jelly! Many people say adding jelly (especially grape jelly) kept Orioles in their backyards for longer periods of time. We recommend feed their backyard birds jelly year-round. Not only will you attract Orioles but also Woodpeckers, Robins, Warblers.
We love the new bright orange “Jelly Feeder” from Bird Company, as it’s inexpensive and slips right on Smuckers or other 10-12 ounce jelly jars.
Our favorite Oriole nectar feeder are the Bird Company Oriole Feeders. Why? Their wide mouths and flat tops, make them easy to fill and clean (base also comes apart easily to clean), and their patent bee guards make sure Orioles (not bees) enjoy the nectar. If your worried about ants bothering your jelly or Oriole nectar, simply hang one of our Clear Nectar Protector Ant Moats above them and fill with water. This acts like a moat around a castle (ants can’t swim) and for just a few bucks you never have to mess with cleaning them out of the feeder! (Works great on Hummingbird feeders also!) While we often tell people to mix their own hummingbird nectar from sugar, we do feel the commercial Oriole nectars we offer, attract and hold more Orioles at the feeder longer.
These feeders combine the qualities of the feeders above. If you would like to increase your chances of attracting Orioles to your backyard, it is beneficial to diversify your food source. The feeders below allow you to offer both jelly and fruit in one feeder.
It is equally important to have nesting materials out and ready to help encourage Orioles to nest in your yard. Where nesting material is available, Orioles will defend an area of several acres and start building a pendulous nest. You can help encourage them by offering long strips of twine or horse hair.Orioles make a pendulous nest with the females normally taking 5-8 days to do all the weaving. The male defends their territory and occasionally checks out the construction of the nest, but offers little help or expertise. The nest may be as much as 8 inches in length and is often supported from the tips of the branches that hang out over open areas such as rivers or roads. The female will lay 4-5 pale gray to bluish eggs, which she alone will incubate until they hatch in 12-14 days. Both parents feed the babies until they fledge in another 12-14 days. By summer’s end, all will have departed for a warm winter stay in South America.
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