Oriole Feeders

Buy a Feeder and Get 15% off 5 lbs of Nectar at Checkout

There are many different types of orioles that annually visit the United States and while their ranges are vastly different, their feeding preferences are very similar. 

While all the species have somewhat different habitat needs, they all favor tall trees for nesting.

The breeding season begins shortly after their arrival in late February to mid-March, peaks in early summer before the rains begin, and continues well into August and early September. It is important to create your oriole station well before you see your first oriole. Males migrate two to four weeks before females to stake a claim on the best feeding and nesting territories. Seasoned adult males (alpha males) always get the first choice of the best territories while sub-adults get lesser quality territory.

If you wait until you see your first oriole before creating your feeding station, it may already be too late and you may have to wait another year to create an inviting station that they attend numerous times per day, day after day for the entire season.

Your orioles love nectar also.

 

Jelly

I am not an enthusiast of feeding jelly to birds---it attracts bees, especially the Africanized type and Bald-faced hornets. And the bird droppings are very staining.

In parallel, Laura Erickson reports that "Kent Mahaffey, who was manager of the San Diego Wild Animal Park's famous free-flight Bird Show for more than two decades. Kent had primary care responsibility for hundreds of birds from many families. He said he would never allow any birds under his care to have jelly. He added the following:

  • In general, any food that exceeds the balance of sucrose in a bird's natural diet is suspect. Natural nectars contain 12% to 30% sugars, while jams and jellies are more than half sugar. He also said that higher than normal sugar loads may outstrip a bird's ability to adequately process the sugar (as it does in humans); and products high in sugars are an ideal environment for bacterial growth.

He summarized as follows: "Birds developed the way they did by adapting to the environments in which they lived and the foods that sustained them. We do our best for them when we stick as closely as possible to their natural diets."

I know that people have been doing this for decades with no apparent ill effects. But since there is no way to check the effect on internal organs, or, as Kent suggested, bacterial growth, it just seems wise to me to stick with Kent's suggestion...which is to offer foods that are as close as possible to what they evolved with."

Hummingbird Market recommends alternatives: grapes and oranges. Birds will appreciate them, and they have natural nutrients, not just sugar.