How to Make an Oriole Feeder
This Oriole Feeder Is Handmade From a Recycled Metal Rod
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.
Did You Know?
- 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 song birds 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 is has larger perches and feeding holes, and are 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 fro attracting orioles into your garden.
Have You Tried Feeding Orioles with Fruit or Nectar Feeders?
© 2011 Anthony Altorenna