Oh! Things to Know About Orioles

One of North America’s most popular fruit-eating birds is the oriole and we can help you attract them to your yard if they are in your area.

Orioles are known to enjoy orange slices, grape jelly and mealworms offered from tray-style feeders. Nectar feeders can also be used. Dissolve ¼ cup of table sugar in 1 cup of warm or hot water; cool and fill the feeder. Be patient and keep the foods fresh, replacing them every few days and be sure to keep your feeders clean, too.

Oriole Fun Facts

  • When not feeding on nectar, orioles seek out caterpillars, fruits, insects, and spiders.
  • The Oriole nest is an engineering masterpiece. They weave a hanging-basket nest with plant fibers, grasses, vine and tree bark and sometimes string or yarn placed out on the small twigs of a branch 6-45 feet in the air. This keeps them safe from most predators.
  • The Baltimore Oriole is a common inhabitant of suburban landscapes due to is preference for open settings that are bordered with mature trees.
  • Orioles are a member of Icteridae family, meaning that their closest bird relatives include meadowlarks, blackbirds, bobolinks and grackles.
  • The oriole gets its name from the Latin aureolus, which means golden.

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. Orioles also can’t resist this oriole nectar recipe.
  • 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 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.
  • 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 following.

Our Oriole Feeder

Our oriole feeder offers nectar (12 oz capacity) with several feeding stations, includes jelly wells in the lid and a place for an orange half. Orioles are especially attracted to citrus in the spring, and will seek out orange halves and grape jelly before shifting to a nectar diet. After nesting, they switch almost completely to insects. These feeders are easy to hang and clean.


A Dream of a Weaver

Many of us dream of having an oriole take up residence in our yard or neighborhood. To behold a brilliant-colored male flashing like a burst of fire from branch to branch, while serenading us with its uplifting whistles, it’s a cause for celebration!

Typically woven out of plant fibers, the oriole’s hanging basket nest is truly an engineering masterpiece. It takes up to two weeks to complete the six inch deep nest, with the female investing over 40 hours to weave more than 10,000 stitches and tying together thousands of knots - all skillfully done with her beak alone.

Nature Centered Podcast

Orioles: Orange is the New Blast

Orioles have shown up at bird feeders in abundance this migration season and they’re truly a blast to watch! In this podcast by Wild Birds Unlimited, hosts John Schaust and Brian Cunningham talk about the different oriole species. You’ll learn how each got its name, different behaviors to watch for and how to attract orioles to your backyard. Hear about some fun oriole activities you can do with your family and learn about the benefits of creating a Certified Wildlife Habitat in your own backyard.

Click here to listen to this episode.

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