About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

What's the Best Way to Attract Orioles

@birdsunlimited What's the best way to attract Orioles in SW Ontario? Any good links that you know of for education on them?

You probably won’t see any of the Baltimore Orioles in Canada until May. The Journey North website studies migration patterns of the Baltimore Oriole, Ruby-throated hummingbirds, Red-winged Blackbirds, and other birds and mammals. You can look at the past seasons to predict upcoming visits or watch the Spring 2010 maps as people report their sightings of birds on the way north.
Most Baltimore orioles winter in Central and South America and begin the journey north to their breeding grounds in April. They prefer to nest in open forests such as those along rivers, small woodlots, fruit orchards, or even large yards with lots of flowering fruit and nut trees.

Orioles eat a variety of fruits, nectar, bugs, and nuts. The best way to attract orioles to your yard is with feeders that offer suet, nuts, mealworms, nectar, grape jelly, or fruit (oranges, grapes, apples).
If you have an extra suet feeder, I thought Droll Yankees was clever to suggest it could be used as fruit holder.

I also recommend two other feeders made by Bird's Choice. My favorite oriole feeder and the one we sell the most of in our mid-Michigan Wild Birds Unlimited stores offers three ways in to attract orioles: nectar, oranges, and jelly. The sugar water is in the saucer (orioles like the same 4 parts water to one part sugar recipe as the hummingbirds), the jelly goes into little jelly troughs built into the cover and the orange goes down the middle hook of the feeder. It's easy to clean, easy to fill and attracts lots of orioles. The weather guard that is pictured with this feeder on the right is sold separately.

The second feeder I recommend is the Poly-lumber feeder made from recycled milk jugs. It has lifetime guarantee to never crack, split or fade, stainless steel screws, thick, heavy-duty acrylic roof to allow Orioles to see the food and protects it from rain, and two removable cups to dispense grape jelly (Orioles’ favorite jelly flavor) and two pegs for orange halves. Cups also may be used to feed mealworms, peanuts, chopped fruit, suet nuggets, and a variety of other foods.
And don’t forget the water. Having water available is a good way to attract a variety of birds to your yard. If you combine water with the appropriate food and habitat your opportunity to attract wild birds will be enhanced greatly.
Two websites I found with further information on orioles are: Journey North Oriole info and All About Birds. If anyone has any other suggestions, post them below on the comments. Wild Birds Unlimited also has a store in Guelph, Ontario. Their website shows a variety of fruit feeders. I hope that helps. You have to be patient and change the food or nectar frequently even if it hasn't been touched. Good luck.


TomComKnowsHow said...

Growing up in Baltimore, I only saw one. Saw another one in Bluefield, WV a few years ago.
Unfortunately, due to the coloring of the (Baseball Team) Baltimore Orioles' Mascot, many lifelong residents of Maryland, and elsewhere, mistake Robin Redbreasts to be Orioles. There's actually a striking difference...

Wild Birds Unlimited Mid-Michigan said...

The Baltimore Oriole and American Robin are both birds with big characters and big voices but definitely look nothing alike.

The male orioles are a striking black and orange but the females are more of an orange tweed. I'm very lucky to have them visit regularly at my window feeder during the summer.

Thank you for your comments! Sarah

Nikolai said...

I am havin some success atracting Orioles in early May in Michigan. After that they seem to disapear. I sure would like to keep them around throughout the Summer . You seem to be having better luck. Any tips would be appreciated. What a delightful bird to have around the yard. Nick

Wild Birds Unlimited Mid-Michigan said...

It has a lot to do with habitat. But I also keep my feeder clean and full of fresh food. I wash and refill the feeder every day for the orioles.

I use the same sugar water solution I make up for the hummingbirds for my orioles and use the BirdBerry Jelly we have at Wild Birds Unlimited and offer a side of peanuts and mealworms. They can't resist!

Anonymous said...


Is it possible to attract Baltimore Orioles on their trip South in the fall or just in Spring.


Wild Birds Unlimited Mid-Michigan said...

Lots of people feed the orioles that pass through their area until the end of September. They eat sugar water, fruits, nuts, berries, jelly, mealworms, and suet at the feeders. They are also attracted by lots of natural fruit and berry plants in the yard.

Marilyn Ash said...

I just found an Orioles nest in my back yard. Jan.2,2017. I saw a large group of them in the neighbors pecan tree last year. I live near Tulsa Oklahoma. This was such a treat for me. I want to put out orange halves for them this year and see if I can get them to stop again.
Finding the nest was amazing.It is still attached to a good sized branch that I think must have blown into my yard from the nearby Pecan tree. I had to search the internet to make sure of what it was.
I will use your helpful hints to try and get them to hang out again this year.