Anthony enjoys spending time in the workshop, the kitchen, the yard, and out fishing. He writes from his personal experience.
Attracting Orioles to Your Garden
Invite these beautiful birds to your yard with an oriole feeder. Orioles feed on fruits and insects rather than seeds, and they will not show much interest in your wild bird feeders. But put out a slice of orange or piece of apple on a feeder, and the birds might come to visit.
Orioles migrate outside of the U.S. in winter, returning each spring in search of nesting sites. Arriving tired and hungry in early spring, orioles will visit feeders offering fresh oranges and other fruits or nectar or jelly before insects, and nectar-producing plants are readily available.
Orioles visit our yard every year, and we enjoy seeing the bright-orange flashes of their feathers as they search through the blueberry bushes for something to eat. We hang pieces of orange and apples on our homemade feeder in a nearby apple tree, and the little birds quickly learn where they can find a meal.
This oriole feeder is made from a short piece of metal stake that I salvaged from an old garden ornament. Simply bend the heavy gauge wire into an "S" shape, add a perch, and this oriole feeder is ready for the garden.
How to Make an Oriole Feeder
- Cut a section of metal rod to approximately 16 inches long. The exact length is not important, but the rod should be thick and strong enough to hold its shape, yet pliable enough to bend by hand and with pliers into the desired shape.
- Gently bend one end of the rod to form the smaller top hook, about 2 inches in diameter. Coax a thicker gauge of material into shape by clamping it into a vise and working it with a hammer. Bending the wire firmly but gently around a piece of pipe or other hard, round object will prevent kinks and result in a smoother curve shape for the oriole feeder.
- Bend the opposite end into a larger 4" diameter reverse curve, again bending the wire around another hard round object to form the "S". File the lower end of the feeder to a point, which makes it easier to impale the fruit onto the end of the oriole feeder. When I was satisfied with the shape, I painted the "S" flat black using an exterior-grade aerosol spray paint.
- Cut a short 4" perch from a dowel or small tree branch. Drill a hole through the center, slightly smaller than the diameter of the metal rod used to make the oriole feeder. Carefully thread the dowel onto the feeder to create the feeding perch.
- Test the balance of the oriole feeder. Spear a piece of apple or orange slice on the end, and temporarily hang the feeder on a hook. If needed, slide the perch or bend the end of the feeder to improve its balance so that the feeder looks right while hanging from the hook or branch. When satisfied, use a small dab of epoxy to secure the perch to the feeder. Your new oriole feeder is ready for the garden.
- There are nine species of orioles in North America. The Baltimore Oriole is the most commonly seen species in the East, and the Bullocks Oriole is the common oriole in the West.
- Orioles are one of the most brightly colored songbirds in North America, sporting feathers of orange, yellow, and black. They are also among the most recognizable birds.
- Orioles favor fruit and nectar, and they also eat a wide variety of insects. They are fond of grape jelly and will visit a small tray of mealworms (purchased from wild bird specialty stores and pet stores). Slices of oranges, grapes, and berries, along with small cups for grape jelly and a few meal mealworms, will attract orioles looking for a meal.
- Use a specialty nectar feeder to offer visiting orioles a sugary drink. Similar to hummingbird feeders, an oriole feeder has larger perches and feeding holes and is typically colored orange. Many oriole feeders also have small cups for offering jelly.
- The basic oriole nectar recipe is one part sugar to six parts of boiling water (6:1 ratio). Stir briskly, and allow the mixture to cool completely before offering it to the birds.
- Orioles raise their young in hanging nests. The birds weave their nests from long blades of grass and will also use pieces of yarn, twine, and string.
Attracting Orioles With an Oriole Nectar Feeder
This short video offers additional tips for attracting orioles into your garden.
© 2011 Anthony Altorenna
Share Your Tips for Feeding Orioles
firstname.lastname@example.org on May 19, 2019:
All mine will go for is grape jelly have tried other things suggested
Renaissance Woman from Colorado on February 23, 2014:
I really like the feeder you built for the orioles. My orioles try to use the hummingbird nectar feeders on my porch. I did purchase one of the oriole feeders you feature here (the Audubon feeder with nectar reservoir and jelly dishes). I think I'll make the hook fruit feeder. Thanks for the idea. Appreciated!
lesliesinclair on February 17, 2014:
Just think - a piece of old wire and a short slice of dowel and you've got yourself a feeder for your favorite birds. I like seeing scraps used in such smart ways.
Sheila from Omaha, NE on June 11, 2013:
Just discovered your lenses, they are awesome! I just had my first Orioles visit my garden this year and I've been busy feeding them oranges and elderberry jelly I made. I love the feeder you share here! Right now my poor Orioles are eating their oranges from a paper plate in a garden cart! By the way, something crazy - my Orioles go nuts over my hummingbird feeder! They hang upside down and drink from it constantly. It's hilarious.
Gregory Moore from Louisville, KY on May 30, 2013:
Great tips. I like the feeder made out of the rod. I always struggle with the squirrels getting in my feeders and emptying them. Looks like that rod might defeat them!
SteveKaye on May 29, 2013:
I really like the feeder made out of a rod. It looks so convenient.
anonymous on May 24, 2013:
Time for the orioles to be returning to the northland and wanted to make sure everyone's ready for them!
pawpaw911 on August 29, 2012:
Great information. Might give it a try, if I ever get some of your other DIY projects done. We feed the orioles every year, and just now, they have started to leave our area, because they haven't been hitting our feeders as much. We feed fruit in the spring, but when it starts getting hot, we switch to grape jelly, and at their peak, in early to mid August, they can go trough about 16 oz. of jelly a day. I might have to get one of these nectar feeder some day, because they eat out of our hummingbird feeders, when we run out of jelly.
Ellen Gregory from Connecticut, USA on August 17, 2012:
I never knew orioles ate fruit instead of seed. I have seen them in our backyard, but rarely. If I put out oranges, maybe I will see more.
anonymous on July 12, 2012:
Everyone who prepared ahead for feeding orioles are certainly glad now that they did, what beautiful birds to invite into our yards!
microfarmproject on June 26, 2012:
We don't have orioles, but we do have lots of citrus in Phoenix, AZ. I could hang one of these to distract wild birds from eating my chicken feed. Thanks for the idea.
Lorelei Cohen from Canada on June 04, 2012:
I would never have thought of hanging out a citrus fruit such as an orange to attract Oriole birds. I am always thinking seed and worms as bird food.
julieannbrady on June 01, 2012:
Gosh, I would think living in Florida that I could handle an oriole feeder ... with all the oranges growing here!
Tony Payne from Southampton, UK on April 05, 2012:
I love your series of lenses on bird feeders. Wish we had Orioles in the UK, but I don't think they come here. We have a number of feeders and a lot of regular winged visitors. Hoping to add more later this year.
anonymous on January 21, 2012:
I was thinking that it would be nice to make some of your Oriole feeders to give as gifts for Mother's Day and Father's Day...or maybe for just, "the Orioles are returning and hungry day". What a beautiful bird to attract to your yard so simply!
anonymous on September 14, 2011:
You certainly don't put anything to waste, I love that you reused a garden stake to make your Oriole feeder, very innovative and perfect for attracting these beautiful birds!