How to Attract Orioles
Oriole are stunning birds, much anticipated by bird lovers. Even though males are brighter, female orioles are gorgeous fliers as well.
“How do you attract orioles to a suburban backyard?”
“The strategy for attracting orioles is similar no matter where you live. Start by offering fresh fruit—healthy food that they love. Oranges and grapes are favorites. Many fruit feeders are available to purchase, but it can be as simple as slicing an orange in half and impaling the halves on a branch. Orioles also love sugar-water, and there are feeders made specifically for that. If you plan to go with the sugar-water make it yourself with 6 parts water to 1 part white sugar. Skip the orange dye and other ingredients—they’re not needed and could harm the birds. Orioles also love grape jelly, but it should be offered in limited amounts. Think of grape jelly as a treat rather than a meal,” according to birding experts Kenn and Kimberly Kaufman.
Orioles can’t get enough of grape jelly!
Put Out Oriole Feeders Early
With orioles, timing is everything as they migrate north to nest in early spring. Recommended timing to begin oriole feeders in Wisconsin is April 1st in southern WI and May 1st in northern WI.
Expert Tips on Feeding Orioles
- Start early. Your best chance of attracting orioles is when the birds first arrive in early spring.
- Use the same sugar-water recipe for orioles as you do for hummingbirds. Keep sugar-water fresh, and don’t use food coloring.
- Oriole birds are attracted to the color orange, so look for a feeder specifically designed 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, 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.
- Hang your feeder near a birdbath. If your birdbath has a bubbler, even better. Orioles love the sight and sound of moving water.
- If you don’t attract orioles in your first year, keep at it. It often takes several seasons to find a feeder. Baltimore oriole near a nest
Look for Oriole Bird Nests in Summer
You can find eight oriole species in the United States, but only five are common. Baltimore orioles and orchard orioles are widespread in the East, and the Bullock’s oriole is found throughout the West. Scott’s and hooded orioles are common in the Southwest, but you can see the other four orioles only at the extreme southern edge of Texas or Florida.
Orioles do not use birdhouses but will nest in yards or other areas with tall deciduous trees.
Your chance to see orioles at feeders or nesting doesn’t last long, because most of these birds start to migrate south in August. Orioles spend their winters in Mexico and Central and South America, where they can find a steady source of insects, fruit and nectar. It’s a thrill to see these beautiful and sometimes elusive songbirds. 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.