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.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

What to feed orioles

How do you get orioles. I've always wanted them. Thank you!

Baltimore Orioles arrive at their mid-Michigan breeding grounds near the end of April. They enjoy a diverse diet consisting of fruits, nuts, bugs, nectar and suets. The Wild Birds Unlimited store in East Lansing is surrounded by flowering crab apple trees. After their migration north I’m sure the sight of all those blooms encourages the birds to stop for a sip of nectar, and a bill full of very ripe apples still clinging to the branches. Once perched, they probably see the bird activity on my window feeder which draws their eyes to my bright orange oriole feeder placed right next to it. My favorite feeder is the unique saucer shaped oriole feeder that offers three ways to attract orioles with nectar, oranges, and jelly. And a mealworm feeder next to that. My video is HERE: https://youtu.be/CX335cxYeD0

Any flowering fruit tree may entice an oriole to investigate. Also cottonwoods, willows, sycamores, and maples host yummy insects that orioles seek, as well as the long branches the species prefer for weaving their nests. 

Helpful hints to attract Orioles to your backyard!

- In plain sight: As many of us are drawn to the Golden Arches, orioles have learned to slow down for red and orange feeders. When placing the oriole feeder, put it in the open so the birds can see it while flying over or near a flowering tree.

- Earlier is better: It is better to hang your feeder too early rather than too late. I’ll put my feeder up at the end of April even though I never see them until the first week in May in mid-Michigan.

- Keep it fresh: The nectar/fruit/jelly must be fresh! The nectar recipe for orioles is the same as hummingbirds – 1 part white sugar to 4 parts plain water (no dye!). I also like the BirdBerry™ Jelly available here at the store because it is lower in sugar than store brand jelly and contains no corn sweetener or artificial ingredients and is higher in fruit and fruit juice. You should also plant natural sources too like Trumpet vines or Grape vines for nectar and fruit.

- Offer mealworms & Suet: Orioles eat insects, especially tent caterpillars, and as an extra protein treat you can serve them live mealworms in a tray feeder. Wild Birds Unlimited Suet is made with only the highest quality processed beef kidney fat. Peanut-butter or Orange suet cakes are good choices to supplement their diet.

- Birds need water: Hang your feeder near a birdbath. After a long journey they need water to hydrate and preen their feathers.

- Keep it clean: Rinse it with hot water every few days and then refill your feeder with fresh juice. This is especially important in warm weather, when it can spoil quickly.

- Building materials: Have nesting materials out and ready to help encourage Orioles to nest in your yard. The Birdie Bell offers a variety of nesting materials like string and cotton. We all know Milkweed attracts butterflies but it also attracts orioles as they may use fibers from the stems and seed pods to weave their nest.

- Don’t give up: If you don’t attract orioles in your first year, keep at it. Once one bird finds the feeder, the word will spread!

Related Articles:
Can birds predict the weather? http://bit.ly/w3bhs8
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

No comments: