How To Attract Orioles To Your Yard: 9 Best Ways

December 8, 2021 // 14 minute read

Articles » How To Attract Orioles

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Known for their black and orange plumage and beautiful sweet songs, orioles are undeniably one of the most sought-after bird species in the backyard. And you really can’t blame anyone because they bring the most beautiful colors around your home. 

And though orioles are frequent visitors of bird feeders, attracting them can be challenging. As they are migratory birds, their territories can change every breeding season. That’s why timing is everything for these birds, and your backyard must be the first thing that catches their attention when they come back this spring. 

So, how do you attract orioles? 

In this article, we’ll show you nine important ways that will persuade orioles to come to your backyard. This includes: 

  1. Preparing Early
  2. Brightening up your area
  3. Planting the right plants
  4. Giving the right food
  5. Using the right type of feeders
  6. Placing feeders in the right location
  7. Providing water
  8. Encouraging nesting
  9. Keeping ants away

We’ll discuss each in detail below. So if you’re interested to know how you can attract these beautiful songbirds, read on… 

1) Prepare Early

As mentioned above, attracting orioles is all about timing. You need to prepare everything even before the birds arrive in your area. 

While most birds wouldn’t mind using your bird feeders any time as long as there’s food, orioles are different. 

Once they pass by your yard and don’t find any feeders, they would just move to the next home. And nope, they wouldn’t look back to take another look at your backyard until the breeding season ends. 

So, don’t wait until you see the first oriole arrive. Instead, start putting out bird feeders at least one or two weeks ahead of the birds’ scheduled migration. 

2) Brighten Up Your Area

Orioles, like hummingbirds, are easily attracted to a specific color. And for orioles, they especially love the bright color orange. 

So, to ensure that your backyard is where they’ll go, brighten up your area by placing some orange colors around you. You can use orange feeders or even tie orange ribbons around trees or fences. 

These things will easily catch orioles’ attention and encourage the birds to fly down and check out your backyard. And if it so happens that there is an abundant food source around your home, they would stay. 

3) Plant Native Trees, Flowers, and Bushes

Another way to encourage more orioles to nest and feed in your backyard is by planting the right plants. This would include: 

  • Nectar-producing flowers
  • Berries
  • Trees
flowers to attract orioles
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Photo by Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona on Unsplash

Nectar-producing flowers are an excellent addition to your nectar feeders. At best, you should choose orange plants that orioles love the most. Some flowers you can plant are red-flowered eucalyptus and daisies. 

Aside from flowers, plant some fruit-bearing plants in your garden, too. Mulberries, Wild cherries, raspberries, blackberries, serviceberries, and dogwood berries are some common shrubs that orioles love. 

You should also plant trees to provide a suitable nesting area for orioles to use. These birds love staying on oak, maple, elm, and sycamore trees, so start planting those. These trees will take a long time to grow. But it would be worth it to have them in the future. 

And of course, as orioles love oranges, it would be great to grow these fruits in your backyard, too! Orioles would love feasting on those, and they’ll keep coming back for them. 

4) Prepare The Right Food 

If there is one important thing you should know about orioles, it is the fact that their diet doesn’t include any seeds. For this reason, simply putting up bird feeders full of sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, peanuts, corn, or a mix of these won’t attract these birds. 

oriole eating an orange
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Photo by Patrice Bouchard on Unsplash

Instead, they will only be interested in four things: 

Fruit

Orioles enjoy eating a variety of fruit. So, if you have some old fruits in your home that you won’t be eating anymore, you can just give them out to the orioles. They would surely thank you for it. 

But, if you really want to convince orioles to pay your backyard a visit, serving them a sliced orange on a feeder would do just the trick. 

As these birds love the color orange, it’s no wonder that orange is their favorite fruit, too!

Jelly

Aside from fruits, orioles also love jelly. Well, grape jelly, to be specific. It’s an excellent food source for them that gives them enough energy for migration. The best part, ýou won’t even have a hard time looking for it. 

Just go to a local store near you and get yourself one. Place the jelly on a cup, shallow dish, or small tins to hold the jelly, hang it up, and let orioles enjoy it. 

Of course, because jelly is sugary, it can quickly get moldy or attract unwanted visitors. So, if you want it to stay longer, you might want to combine one part jelly with one part water in a blender, giving it a thick juice consistency. 

Don’t worry! The Orioles would still love this mixture just the same. 

Nectar

Aside from hummingbirds, orioles are another bird species that love drinking nectar. These are excellent energy boosters for them, especially when they’re in the middle of migrating or just coming from migration. 

As much as orioles love authentic nectar from flowers, they wouldn’t mind drinking sugar water from bird feeders, too. And while you can buy pre-made nectar, it’s very easy and cheaper to make yours at home. 

All you need to do is mix six parts water with one part sugar, and you’re done! 

There is no more need to add coloring or flavoring. Orioles don’t need that, and adding such ingredients can be dangerous for them. 

Sadly, you can’t use the same hummingbird feeders to serve orioles some nectar. The openings for these feeders are too small, making it impossible for other birds to access. You can, however, use some oriole nectar feeders, which are also available in the market.

Mealworms

Aside from fruit eaters, orioles also love insects, which is why providing mealworms will persuade them to visit your backyard. You can offer mealworms in a dead or alive state, orioles wouldn’t mind at all. 

Of course, you can’t hope to attract orioles with mealworms alone. They would still prefer fruits, jelly, or nectar, so focus on those. 

Feed The Right Food At The Right Time

Of course, giving the right kind of food is not enough. You also need to be giving orioles the right food at the right time. 

Remember, these birds are migratory. They stay in one area for summer and then travel south for winter. Because of this, the oriole’s diet can vary every season and will always focus on what food will provide them the best energy for their activity – breeding or migrating. 

This may sound complicated, but here’s a short guide on how you should feed orioles.

  • Spring and Fall – During the spring and fall season, orioles tend to consume more nectar and fruits so that they have something they can easily convert into fat. They do this to gain body mass and have more reserve fat to survive winter and migration. 
  • Summer – During the summer season, orioles will focus more on eating insects as they need enough protein to produce eggs. They also gather more food to feed themselves and their young. 

So, if orioles pass by your backyard during summer, spring, or fall, make sure that you provide appropriate meals for them. 

5) Use Oriole-Specific Feeders

Aside from feeding orioles the right food at the right time, it’s good to use oriole-specific feeders. 

As orioles are bird species with a special diet, you’ll be glad to know that there are feeders designed specifically for orioles, just like with the hummingbirds. 

Learn What Bird Feeders Are The Best With Our Oriole Bird Feeder Buying Guide. 

Click the button below to view our favorite oriole bird feeders.

Best Oriole Bird Feeders

These bird feeders often come with a nail where you can place the orange, a cup for the jelly, and a space for the nectar with feeding holes made for orioles. 

If you want to get an idea of what these bird feeders look like, take a look at the video below: 

Selecting the right oriole feeder

But how do you pick the right oriole feeder? 

Well, you need to consider a few things: 

Consider:Details:
CapacityEach oriole feeder will hold different amounts of food. There are feeders with one feeding station only meant to be used by a single bird, two feeding stations for a mating pair, and there are also those that have multiple feeding stations. 

However, unless you’re aware that many orioles visit your backyard every day, it’s highly recommended to just get one small feeder and only add when needed. 

Because orioles feed on sugary products, it’s easy to attract insects or be covered with molds, making them uneatable. 
MaterialLike many other feeders, oriole feeders come in various materials, which is why you must choose a feeder that can withstand harsh outside elements and will therefore stay longer.
Feeder TypeThe next thing you should look at is the specific type of oriole feeder you want.

Again, orioles have a unique diet, and there are many feeders in the market that you can find to cater to these. Some types would include:
– Jelly feeders for the grape jelly
– Nectar feeders for the sugar water (this is different from the hummingbird feeders)
– Fruit feeders (mainly for oranges)
– Mealworm feeders

Of course, you might also find feeders that offer a feeding station for 2 or 3 of these food choices, and you might like to choose that. This way, orioles can switch to which food they’d prefer. 
ColorYou should also consider the color of the feeder. And while hummingbirds love the red color, orioles love bright orange feeders. You can choose between having a bird feeder with only a bit of that orange color or a bird feeder that’s orange entirely.
Ease of CleaningYou should also get a bird feeder that is easy to clean. After all, unlike seed-type bird feeders, oriole feeders need to be cleaned more frequently to prevent attracting insects and prevent birds from eating moldy food. This is the reason why getting a bird feeder that is easy to clean is very important. 
BudgetLastly, you’d want to consider how much you’re willing to spend on an oriole feeder. This will affect a lot of the factors above, especially when it comes to the materials.

6) Place Feeders In The Right Location

Having a nice oriole feeder might be for nothing if you don’t place them in the right location. 

The first thing you should keep in mind is that orioles are migratory birds. And there’s a good chance that they’re flying on top of trees while seeking for something to eat at their first arrival or during migration. 

For this reason, it’s vital to hang oriole feeders in open areas so that orioles will see them while they’re flying. This is also why it’s important to hang those feeders early. 

Another thing you should do is make sure that the area is quiet. Orioles don’t like being close to areas with too much human activity as they can be timid. 

7) Don’t Forget To Give Water

All animals, including birds, need water. This is vital on any bird feeders, even if you’re not attracting orioles. 

Water is essential to birds in order to avoid dehydration. And they also use it to clean themselves easily. And for orioles, it’s better to put up a birdbath with moving water to attract them. You must also make sure that this birdbath is shallow to prevent any accidents for the birds. 

If you live in orioles’ wintering grounds, it’s highly recommended to get a heated birdbath, so you can continuously supply any bird water when they need it the most. 

8) Encourage Nesting To Attract Orioles

If you don’t want orioles to just simply pass by your home, you might want to encourage them to nest in your backyard. 

Orioles love staying in tall, deciduous trees to build their nest. And in your backyard, you can plant oak trees, maple trees, sycamore trees, and elm trees so that these birds will have a place to stay. 

Aside from the location, it’s also essential to provide the birds’ materials to make their nest. This includes: 

  • Plant fibers
  • Bark strips
  • Vines
  • Grasses
  • Strings

Scatter these materials around your home so that orioles can find them. If you have pets, you can also offer their fur as slender fibers they can use to build their nests. After all, orioles in the past have always used horsehair for building their nest. 

9) Keep Ants Away (IMPORTANT!)

Last but not least, it’s very important to KEEP ANTS AWAY! 

Again, orioles love sugary snacks – fruits, sugar water, and jelly. And while their unique diet is fascinating, it’s also the kind of diet that easily attracts insects, particularly ants and bees. 

It’s highly recommended to get a feeder that comes with an ant or bee guard. But if yours doesn’t have one, you can rub a small amount of vegetable oil near the holes of the feeders to prevent insects from clogging them or even going inside. 

By shooing insects away, you can protect orioles from possible diseases. 

FAQs On How To Attract Orioles

What are the most common species of orioles that visit your backyard? 

Orioles are migratory birds, and the time they always come back to the US is in early Spring. In this month, a couple of oriole species pass by your home’s backyard, but here are the five most common types of oriole species you’ll most likely see: 

These birds are very similar to each other so try to familiarize yourself with some markings. 

How long does it take for orioles to find my feeder? 

Attracting any bird requires great patience. 

You can’t hang a bird feeder and expect birds to come flying in almost immediately. However, most times, waiting can take longer; it can be 2 hours, 2 weeks, or even 2 months. But you need to be patient. 

If you put your bird feeders out too late, then no orioles might be able to visit it. So, just follow the tips above and orioles might just start coming to your backyard. 

Where should oriole feeders be placed? 

Placing oriole feeders in an open area is always the best option. This makes it easier for orioles to see the feeders while mid-flight or while perching on a tree. And if you wish for orioles to stay, make sure that you place them in quiet areas, away from busy human activities. 

What time of the day do orioles feed? 

Orioles usually travel at night, which means they usually arrive at their breeding or wintering areas early in the morning. So make sure that your feeders are already waiting for their arrival. This way, they can immediately replace the lost energy. 

Final Thoughts On How You Can Attract Orioles To Your Yard

And that’s how you can attract orioles to your yard. 

Remember there are three important things here: 

  • Give the right food
  • Provide water 
  • Encourage shelter

But most of all, you must prepare all of these early.

Try to observe when orioles usually pass by your home every year. After that, put out bird feeders earlier than expected. You should also check these bird feeders every day to ensure that the orioles can eat healthy and fresh food by the time they arrive. 

Lastly, don’t forget to make your yard bright and colorful by adding a touch of orange throughout!

how to attract orioles
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