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.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Orioles can disappear while building a nest

Hello, I live in mid-Michigan and I put up a Oriole feeder with 2 orange slices and grape jelly for food.  We started getting Orioles coming to it for about 2 weeks.  Then I put up our Hummingbird feeder which is about 3 ft. from the Oriole feeder.  We have not seen a single Oriole at our Oriole feeder since.  Do the Hummingbirds scare the Orioles away?  Nobody that I have asked around our neighborhood knows the answer.  Do you have any idea?  Thank You.    Bill

When orioles arrive in the spring they are super hungry. After a long migration they take advantage of food offered at feeders. Later while they are nesting and feeding young, the diet changes to more bugs for the added protein. Baltimore orioles eat primarily caterpillars, including many pest species like tent caterpillars. This means they are foraging for food, building nests, and incubating eggs instead of visiting your feeders.

Don't worry, often the adults will bring they're young to the feeders once they've left the nest. So be prepared for a return after a couple weeks absence. Or you can add live mealworms to some of the food you offer.

Mealworms are the larvae of a beetle with a high protein level. Many birders believe the mealworms are used solely for attracting bluebirds. This is definitely not the case as many other species enjoy these little treats. Some birds attracted to mealworms include: wrens, robins, bluebirds, jays, sparrows, cardinals, woodpeckers, nuthatches, titmice, chickadees, and yes even orioles.

The diet of the Baltimore Oriole consist of insects, fruits, and flower nectar. You can attract orioles to eat from your backyard feeder by setting out orange halves, grape jelly, sugar water, suets, or mealworms.

A hummingbird won't deter an oriole from coming to the feeder.

Related Articles: 
- Facts on the Baltimore Oriole http://bit.ly/GzSTbi
- Where do orioles winter? http://bit.ly/GAeWv5
- Close-up of Baltimore Oriole http://bit.ly/GAf6T7
- When can I expect my orioles to arrive? http://goo.gl/OHrCc

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