Orioles have striking orange or yellow and black plumage which makes them fairly easy to identify. In Missouri, now is the time to start looking out for these seasonal visitors with their gentle birdsong. Last year, we had many customers tell us that they had seen more orioles in their area than ever before. If you’d like to see them in your backyard, we have some tips that will help.
1. Orange and Oranges
Orioles love fruit, but their favorite seems to be the orange. My brother and sister-in-law spotted a few orioles in their back yard last summer, so I suggested that they hang some orange wedges on their deck. In only a matter of a couple of hours, this is what they saw:
There are feeders/hangers made specifically for hanging fruit, but you can also fashion your own makeshift hangers from some sturdy wire. They may not look as appealing, but they are functional. We have a stylish Spiral Fruit Spear that works well and looks nice. Orioles are also attracted to the color orange, which is why most commercially-made oriole feeders are made with this color.
Grape jelly is a delicious delight for orioles and many jelly feeders will be emptied in a day! We have a Jelly/Jam Feeder and this is designed specifically for orioles. I have heard a customer say that his orioles prefer a specific brand of jelly, but I’m not sure that most orioles are quite that particular.
Orioles love sugary treats, so it is not unusual for them to try hummingbird feeders; however, their beaks are too big for the ports. Like Hummingbirds, orioles will drink nectar or sugar water. There is special Oriole Nectar (concentrate), which is orange in color. Be sure to get a nectar feeder that is specifically designed for them.
Traditional bird feeders with seeds won’t work for orioles since their diet consists mainly of fruit and insects. You may attract orioles if you offer mealworms in your feeders. They can be live or dried, and there advantages to each: dried mealworms are easier to deal with and keep longer, but are not quite as appealing as the live ones. They can be set out in a bowl, but make sure it is secured or it will be knocked over.
5. Inviting Them In
Orioles are not as social as some other birds, like Hummingbirds, so you may have to draw them in. First, hang your fruit or feeders on the outskirts of your yard, distanced from your other bird feeders and away from human activity. You can gradually move them nearer your house or bird-watching area to enjoy observing these brightly-colored birds more closely.
We hope you have enjoyed reading about orioles and how to invite them into your yard. If you have found this article helpful, please leave a comment and follow us on Facebook. Thanks for reading and happy bird-watching!