Time to Set Your Avian Table for Springtime!
Even if you are not a bird enthusiast, you cannot ignore the stunning beauty of the Baltimore oriole. The sound of a slow but loud flutelike whistle of “tea—dear—dear—dear—here -- dear,” or the flash of brilliant orange that will surely catch your eye. Every spring the Orioles migrate north so now if the time to set the table with their favorite foods so that the sight and sound of these birds will be commonplace in your own backyard.
In late April, we will start seeing the arrival of these songbirds and they will be hungry! Here are a few ideas:
1. Oriole feeders – Make sure the feeder has a bright orange top as the Orioles are attracted to this color and it can easily be spotted as the birds are flying over your yard. Orioles do not feast on birdseed. They do enjoy insects, but their real love is sweets!
2. Nectar- sweet, sugary nectar is one of their favorites and its one of the easiest feeding methods. You can purchase orange nectar specifically for orioles or you can even use hummingbird nectar.
3. Oranges – you can make your own feeder for fresh slice oranges or purchase one from your favorite bird store. This is another favorite of the Orioles. Be sure you change out the slices daily as you don’t want to create an unhealthy i.e. moldy feeding environment. A lot of these guys are coming from Florida, or the Caribbean so giving them a familiar food will really help you attract them to your yard.
4. Grape jelly is a sure way to lure these beauties to your backyard. There are feeders made to handle both orange slices and grape jelly or you can use a small lid or can to create your own grape jelly feeder. Affix the can or lid to a platform so the birds cannot knock it the ground.
5. Insects – although the orioles do have a bit of a sweet tooth insects are an important part of their diet. Although living largely on sugar is, they way to go, even the Orioles will need to supplement their diet with some fat, protein and fiber. This is where mealworms, dried crickets or other types of grubs are great! Now you truly have given them the full cycle of food that they are looking for
The orioles will surely be hungry as they start to build their nests and home for the summer. The Oriole’s nestbuilding has been referred as one of the greatest wonders of the avian world. The females will take up to 8 days weaving a basket-like nest in deciduous trees, especially cottonwoods. These distinctive nests are known for their strength and endurance. Even Chicago winters cannot destroy these nests as many orioles return to the same nest year over year. That is why it is common to have the orioles visit your yard year after year. They know that they will have a solid food source nearby, as well as a nest waiting for them.
So set your table now for the arrival of Spring and the Baltimore oriole. Attracting these birds to your backyard will take vigilance and patience but well worth it!