Quick Facts: The Baltimore Oriole

April 15, 2010

Baltimore Oriole    Photo by Robert Strickland.


Of all the birds I have in my yard, both summer and winter, the oriole is my all-time favorite bird! They have the sweetest song of all. My kitchen window looks out over a thin strip of woods that separates my yard from the next. And without fail, every spring as I’m standing at my sink I’ll see my orioles announcing their arrival in my yard.  I hurry to get my fresh jelly out for them as I know they are hungry after their long, migration journey.

I have 3 pairs that nest somewhere on my property, although I have yet to find where.  The males arrive first and then after a week or two the females arrive.  After a day or two of eating heavily, the nest building begins. I have a vine that runs up a maple in the backyard and the female will peel small strips from it to line her nest.  I really want to cut the vine down but I can’t bring myself to do it knowing how much they love it for their nest building!


Then they bring their babies to the jelly feeders—their mouths wide open, wings fluttering for mom and dad to give them a bite.  I feel almost like these orioles are my

children. I know each of them apart from one another, slight variations in their coloring gives them away. So today I am waiting for the beginning of May for my “bird children” to arrive and bring with them their melodic songs that fill my yard.

If you want to attract orioles, I have a few recommendations.  I really like the Oriole Fest for offering Oriole Nectar and orange halves.  Then you’ll want to feed grape jelly because orioles just can’t resist it! Duncraft has BirdBerry Grape Jelly that’s great for the birds because it contains no corn sweeteners.  Feed it from a jelly feeder such as Duncraft’s brand new Eco-Oriole Fruit and Jelly Feeder.  This is a durable feeder in a bright-orange recycled plastic that’s sure to attract these fabulous birds!

~Mindy Goley

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Carrie April 15, 2010 at 9:05 am

I finally moved to a house with trees and have been so excited about feeding the birds this year. I am really hoping to get some orioles myself. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one!

Amy March 28, 2011 at 10:34 am

I agree Mindy, they are my all time favorite along with bluebirds!!! My yard sounds like yours–i also have woods and they build somewhere, i too have yet to find their nests. i am excited for them to come back!!! Enjoy your birds–

janet March 28, 2011 at 3:55 pm


Andrea March 28, 2011 at 8:31 pm

Mindy, I have orioles feeding every spring in my Tulip tree. I have hung oranges and oriole feeders every year for the past 10 and I have NEVER had one eat from them!! I won”t give up!! Any suggestions?

Anthony March 29, 2011 at 9:57 am

I tried to attract orioles last year and it did not work. I may have been to late. I live in eastern PA and put out my feeder in June. This year I am going to put out in mid April. Are there orioles in eastern PA? everything I see on charts say they are here???

Diane March 29, 2011 at 9:35 pm

Last year was my first year ever to attract orioles. I put the feeder out mid-April with nectar, grape jelly and oranges. I also tied orange ribbons to attract them. Once they came they only ate the jelly – nothing else. Remember to use an ant moat so you won’t get ants. They have a beautiful song and are really a beautiful bird! Good luck!

Randy April 13, 2011 at 10:58 am

My home is surrounded by woods and without fail in early May the Orioles arrive. I live in Southwest Lower Michigan. I put oranges and grape jelly out for them. They also sip from the Hummingbird feeder as well.

Kay April 13, 2011 at 12:06 pm

I live in SE Michigan and had a good year in 2009 attracting orioles, but not so much last year. In my case, they ate only the jelly. It has been hard to know with our long winters when to put the feeder out. I think I may put it out this weekend and see what happens. Any one have comments on when they might show up in my area? Thanks.

Chris April 13, 2011 at 12:56 pm

We are also SE Michigan residents and our orioles arrive almost like magic on April 15. And they DO prefer the grape jelly even though it is the oranges that attract them.

Sally April 13, 2011 at 1:05 pm

We live in Northern Calif. and have several pairs of Orioles that arrived by the first of April. I also notice the males arriving first. Two years ago I finally gave away my Oriole feeder because they never used it, but preferred the hummingbird feeders! I had the specific orange-flavored syrup in it just for them, but I never saw them eat from it. Instead, they like to work harder to get syrup out of the tiny hummer ports, which works on one of the feeders. Never could figure out why they didn’t like their own feeder! This year I’ve put out some orange halves, too, which they really like, but the ants like them, too. I may try another style Oriole feeder again. Orioles are so pretty hanging around the yard! We are in the country with lots of trees nearby.

Wanda April 13, 2011 at 2:26 pm

I have problems with bees and ants taking over my feeders for Hummingbirds, with grape jelly I can imagine the birds won’t be able to get to it to eat. Any solutions for that kind of problem?

Shelly April 13, 2011 at 4:34 pm

I rub Tanglefoot (organic) at the base of my feeder pole. Ants can’t get past that. It is veerrry sticky.

Barbara April 13, 2011 at 5:50 pm

We have a lot of squirrels on Long Island, any ideas how to keep them of this type of feeder?

Emily Link April 14, 2011 at 5:16 pm

It took a while, but my orioles are finally using their feeder which has the guard to keep the bees out. Last year at the end of the season, the bees took over the feeder so I bought this new kind. I love the bird’s screech as they sit in the tree, just before they fly to the feeder. Yeah, spring! They will stay until late August, early September.

Linda April 19, 2011 at 9:44 pm

I live north of Houston Tx. A local bird supply store told me that Orioles
migrate in this area the end of March, or early April.

I have purchased the proper feeding stations. Putting out nectar, and jelly.

No luck yet. Is there any others in this area who have seen them.
If so, please let me know!

Cathy Oldenburg May 5, 2011 at 11:00 pm

I’m having a terrible time with bees swarming my jelly feeders & oranges, so much so that the pair of Orioles that were here appear to have given up. Any help?

Kay June 8, 2011 at 10:05 am

Kay in SE Michigan again. I’ve only seen one Oriole so far this year. He was in my Crabapple tree about a month ago, but did not stop at my feeder. I’ve added orange streamers to my feeder pole and have an orange-colored feeder with the grape jelly, but no luck as yet. Anyone else in SE Michigan having better luck than I?

emma December 11, 2011 at 7:20 pm

I love orioles. Every day in the summer I at least see 7 orioles.

Bojane Lineu May 1, 2012 at 11:59 pm

We are a group of volunteers and starting a brand new scheme in our community. Your web site offered us with valuable information to work on. You have performed a formidable job and our entire neighborhood will likely be thankful to you.

cynde lee April 27, 2015 at 7:43 pm

I have been delighted to attract Bullock Orioles here in the Sierra Foothills of California for many years. I read about their favorite habitat and my back yard is exactly that.. large old overhanging trees by a creek with open space nearby. They flit from one tree to the next and love my hummingbird feeder. I removed the small yellow “flowers” to make the holes larger for their beak. The males come early sometimes even late March and then along come the females soon after. Two years ago I started putting out grape jelly and they absolutely love it. I can hear them chirp chirp chirping if the container gets empty.. For the last two years they have suffered with fighting off the bees. It makes me really upset to see them dancing around the plate of jelly with swarms of bees. I am now searching for solutions..??? the hummingbird feeder has also been taken over.. I must have a hive nearby. I love them both but get such a thrill seeing these beautiful birds with such a lovely song. Any suggestions would be so appreciated!!

Heidi Babb April 28, 2015 at 2:34 pm

Keeping bees out of jelly can be really hard — in fact I don’t know how to do it. But what you can do instead is try feeing Oriole Nectar from an oriole feeder with built-in bee guards, such as the Deluxe Oriole Feeder or the Fliteline Oriole Feeder.

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