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Baltimore Oriole

Coax Elusive Orioles to Nest in Your Yard

Coax Elusive Orioles to Nest in Your Yard

If you spot an Oriole perched outside your window, don’t assume it’s going to stick around.

During their migration north, Orioles search out a summer home abundant with nesting materials, and food and water sources. If they don’t spot these in your yard, they’re likely to move along and not be seen again until their return trip south. Your chance to convince them that your yard makes a great home may be brief, so it’s best to lay out the welcome mat in advance.

What Orioles Want to See and When

Orioles start to appear in Ontario around mid-to-late May. Make sure you have the following in your yard for them to see before they flyover.

  • Food Source 
    • Like hummingbirds, Orioles eat nectar. But unlike hummingbirds, Orioles need to perch to feed and their larger beaks are often incompatible with hummingbird feeders. They may attempt to take their meal alongside the hummers, but often make a mess of the task and fly off frustrated.
    • Hang an Oriole-specific feeder in an open space. These feeders are often orange, a favourite colour of the Oriole. The bright colour is more likely to catch an Oriole’s eye as it migrates overhead, enticing it to stop for refreshment. A well-designed Oriole feeder has larger feeding holes, perches for the Oriole to land and spots for offering an Orioles’ other favourite treats — grape jelly and orange slices. At Cole’s we carry Oriole feeders that hummingbirds can enjoy too.

Want to make your garden more attractive to hummingbirds?

  • Water Source
    • Orioles are drawn to moving water. Set a birdbath with a bubbler near your feeder. It may also help to attach orange-coloured decor to your bath.
  • Nesting Material
    • Orioles are also looking for a place and the resources to nest. Don’t expect them to settle in a birdhouse. They prefer to construct their nest amongst leafy elm branches or other deciduous trees. Hanging nesting materials in your yard like strands of yarn or hair may also help coax them to settle.

What Orioles Want to Eat

  • Orange slices and grape jelly are often a popular high-sugar side dish for Orioles around migration time, but remember to keep these treats fresh to prevent harmful mold growth.
  • If you make your own hummingbird nectar — four parts water with one part white sugar, boiled and cooled — you can share it with the Orioles. However, female Orioles also seek calcium to help them produce strong eggshells to protect their delicate babies. Our Homestead® Oriole Nectar Sugar Concentrate is fortified with calcium and vitamins.
  • In the summer you may see the Orioles sharing the suet holders you set out for the other birds. You can also offer nutritionally-beneficial mealworms during nesting season in the jelly cups of your Oriole feeder.

Learn how to attract other birds to your yard.