At Your Bird Feeder: Orioles

Spring migration comes to a close

The final travelers during the spring migration are headed into the northern states and Canada over the next few weeks. We are seeing reports of Baltimore Orioles at bird feeders in Michigan, Vermont and other northern states. Most Orioles will be moving a bit farther north before mating begins in earnest, but if you’d like to try to encourage them to nest in your yard follow the tips below.

How to encourage nesting orioles

Orioles are extremely shy birds. To encourage them to nest in your yard, you’ll need to have proper tree cover–usually a willow, elm or similar style tree with plenty of thick branches. They will build their nest among the branches.

Put out a nesting extras like hair, yarn and small threads for the birds to use for their cup-like nest building efforts.

Recognizing an oriole nest

Look for a nest that resembles a sock. It will hang from a tree branch and be well hidden from the human eye, unless you’re looking carefully for it. Look for fibers hanging from a high branch in an elm tree to see the nest-building process from the beginning.

Offer ripe food at your bird feeder

Baltimore Orioles, unlike many other fruit-eating birds, seem to have an almost exclusive preference for extremely ripe and richly colored fruit–think orange slices and grape jelly. Make sure you have these at your oriole feeders both at this time of year and in the early fall when they are migrating south again.

Orioles, particularly the Baltimore variety, are some of the most sought after back yard birds. For most of us, they are a fleeting few days or weeks each year, enjoy them while they are here using the tips above.

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