Easy Oriole Bird Feeding Tips for Your Yard

With their bright plumage and bubbly song, Orioles bring joy when they visit your yard. Attracting these striking birds is easier than you think with a few simple tips. We share our expert advice on the best ways to draw Orioles to your backyard feeders.

Choose the Right Foods Orioles Crave

Orioles have a strong sweet tooth and enjoy sugary foods. Offering treats that appeal to their tastes is key to bringing them in.

Offer Oranges, Apples, and Other Fruit

Cut oranges, apples, grapes, bananas and other fruits into halves or slices. Impale them on branches, skewers or specialized fruit feeders. The fragrance will help lure Orioles in.

Try Jelly and Nectar

Orioles are naturally drawn to the sweetness of jelly and nectar. Offer grape, apple or orange flavored jelly in open dishes or smear it on platform feeders. Also try specialized sugar water nectar mixes made just for orioles.

Hang Out Halved Oranges

One of the easiest offerings is halved oranges. Skewer them on branches in your yard or hang them from Shepherd’s hook poles. The orange color will catch an Oriole’s eye.

Serve Mealworms and Other Insects

While Orioles eat mainly fruit and nectar, they also enjoy protein from live mealworms. You can buy them dried or place feeders with live mealworms in your yard.

Use Bright Colors to Attract Their Attention

Orioles are visually oriented, so using their favorite colors will help draw them in.

Orange is Ideal

The bright orange shades of treats like oranges, nectar and jelly already appeal to Orioles. Hang orange halves in likely flight paths around your yard. Orange feeders will also catch their eye.

Add Red Accents Too

Red is another color that grabs an Oriole’s attention. Consider adding red embellishments like ribbons, straws or plastic flowers to your fruit feeders. Red dishware also works well.

Offer Black Accessories Too

Orioles are also attracted to the color black. Serving fruit against black backdrops like plates or feeder trays can be helpful. Adding black decorations can also pull them in.

Avoid Greens and Blues

Stick to warm orange and red tones. Orioles tend to ignore cooler greens and blues. Steer clear of these hues in your feeders.

Give Them Foliage Perches to Dine

Orioles like landing spots where they can comfortably eat. Nearby foliage provides natural perches.

Place Feeders Near Trees

Situate feeders on branches or hang them from tree limbs. Orioles will swing through the leaves to nibble treats.

Add Plant Hangings Near Feeders

If no trees are nearby, suspend flower baskets or other plant hangings by feeders. The dangling leaves create dining perches.

Let Vines Trail Around Feeders

Vining plants trailing around feeders also allow for foliage landings. Position feeders by climbers or add vines to Shepherd’s hooks.

Use Fruit Skewers for Instant Perches

Fruit skewers provide built-in perches. The sharp points easily insert into trees or shrubs, letting Orioles stop to munch.

Offer Several Feeder Locations

Trying multiple spots increases your odds of discovery. Place feeders where Orioles regularly travel.

Near Woods Edges or Dense Trees

Areas where trees meet open space, like along woods edges, are an Oriole favorite. Focus feeders in these in-between zones.

In Proximity to Other Food Sources

Place feeders near existing food sources like fruit trees, berry bushes or nectar-producing flowers. Orioles are likely to find them.

Along Fencelines and Property Borders

Orioles frequently move along the edges of properties. Situate feeders along fencelines, borders or other end routes.

By Vegetation at Varying Heights

Orioles fly at heights ranging from 3 feet to treetop level. Cover different zones with feeders in shrubs, mid-level trees and high branches.

Maintain Feeders for Continued Visits

Once Orioles start coming, keep them returning by regularly tending feeders. Follow these upkeep tips:

  • Refresh nectar and fruit every few days, more often in warm weather. Discard any moldy food.
  • Clean feeders thoroughly with a diluted bleach solution at least once per month. Rinse well afterward.
  • Monitor insect offerings like mealworms and only put out what birds will eat in a day. Remove leftovers daily.
  • Frequently wash and change out dishware, especially landing areas. Bacteria flourish on dirty surfaces.
  • Rotate fruit offerings to provide variety. Orioles may tire of the same fruits if not switched up.
  • Move feeder locations around your yard from time to time. This prevents boredom while also reaching more birds.
  • When migration ends in early fall, take down feeders for the season. Put them back up by early spring for returning birds.

Bird-Friendly Feeders and Accessories

Having the right gear will help you successfully feed Orioles. Here are smart feeder and accessory choices:

Open Platform Feeders

These shallow, open trays or platforms give easy fruit access. Some have raised perches. Dual-sided feeders fit more birds.

Jelly/Nectar Feeders

Designed for jelly and nectar, these feeders have reservoirs to hold liquid foods and accessible perches for feeding.

Fruit Skewers

Sharp metal skewers easily insert into fruit for hanging on trees, shrubs and more. Ribbon ends are decorative.

Fruit Half Holders

These clever metal holders secure halved citrus fruits and other produce to hang from branches or poles.

Suction Cup Feeders

For window mounting, these feeders use suction cups to attach to glass. Some models hold multiple foods.

Shepherd’s Hooks

Install these landscape hooks to create freestanding fruit feeding stations. Select taller 7-8 foot hooks.

Mealworm Dish Holders

These dishes suspend live or dried mealworms at reachable heights. Some protect worms from drowning.

Oriole Feeder Poles

Mount feeders atop tall, narrow poles to display them at ideal heights in open yards.

Nectar Mixes

Specialty pre-made mixes for Orioles save prep time. Choose brands made from natural sugars like sucrose.

Fruit Feeder Guards

These cage-like guards fit over fruit to thwart bees. Bungee cords or adjustable versions simplify installations.

Discourage Pests and Bee Swarms

Taking a few precautions will help keep unwanted insects away from feeders:

  • Use feeder guards orcover fruits with plastic mesh to block bees. Ensure openings are still Oriole-sized.
  • Clean up any dropped, rotting fruit that could attract ants, wasps and other pests.
  • Avoid dripping nectar that attracts insects. Use reservoirs and internal wicks to self-feed. Refill often.
  • For bees, offer jelly instead of liquid nectar which they prefer. Place jelly feeders away from busy areas.
  • Relocate swarming bee feeders to another part of the yard. Chilled nectar deters bees but not Orioles.
  • At night, take feeders inside or cover to prevent roaches and ants. Never leave overnight.

Be Patient for Oriole Arrivals

It may take time and persistence to initially attract Orioles. Use these tips to bring them in:

  • Start feeding in early spring before migration. Orioles may find the food and remember the location.
  • Try different food and feeder setups until you find what works. Orioles have unique preferences.
  • Add more feeders and PERCHES to establish your yard as an appealing buffet stop.
  • Play audio of Oriole songs and calls to catch their interest during migration and breeding season.
  • Don’t give up! It often takes weeks or months before Orioles regularly visit new feeders.

Enjoy Watching These Beautiful Birds

Following the feeding tips above will give you an excellent chance at spotting Oriole visitors this season. Observing their bright plumage and lively activity is a true delight for any birdwatcher. With the right strategy, you can have Orioles flocking to your backyard in no time. So grab some oranges and enjoy the show!

Frequently Asked Questions About Feeding Orioles

Feeding Orioles is rewarding but does require some specific techniques. Here are answers to common questions about attracting these birds to your yard.

What is the best time of year to start feeding Orioles?

The ideal time is early spring, just before Orioles return to your area from wintering grounds. Having food ready coincides perfectly with their spring migration. Aim for late March to early April for most regions.

What type of feeder is best for offering fruit?

Open platform feeders work well for sliced fruits and allow easy access from all directions. They should have a guard to keep out bees. Skewering fruit halves on branches or poles is another good approach.

How often should I change out nectar for Orioles?

During warm months, nectar should be changed every 2-3 days at a minimum. It can ferment quickly in heat which can harm Orioles. In cooler weather, nectar lasts 4-5 days. Always toss out thick, cloudy nectar.

What can I do to discourage bees at Oriole feeders?

Use jelly instead of straight nectar which attracts bees less. Feeders with bee guards help block them while allowing Orioles to access food. Chilling nectar also deters bees but not Orioles.

Is it okay to feed Orioles grape jelly?

Yes, grape jelly is perfectly fine for Orioles and they love the sweet flavor. For lowest waste, look for all-fruit jellies with minimal added sugars. Offer it in small dishes or smeared onto platform feeders.

How often should Oriole fruit offerings be replaced?

During summer, replace fruit daily or every other day at a minimum. Fruit left longer can rot, growing bacteria and attracting pests. In cooler weather, fruit may last 2-3 days. Always remove any spoiled, dried out or moldy fruit promptly.

Can other birds eat food meant for Orioles?

Yes, treats offered to Orioles will likely attract other fruit, jelly and nectar-loving birds as well such as tanagers, woodpeckers, thrushes and oriole cousins like the orchard oriole. These interspecies interactions can be fun to observe!

What time of day are Orioles most active at feeders?

Orioles are most active in the mornings and again in late afternoons. Focus your efforts around dawn and dusk. Mid day activity slows but offering shaded feeding spots can help encourage visits.

Should feeders be taken down in winter when Orioles migrate?

Yes, Orioles only stay for the breeding season, migrating south for winter. All feeders and perishable foods should be removed by late fall after they depart to avoid contamination. Get feeders ready again for the following spring.

Do Orioles migrate through my area?

Orioles primarily breed in eastern and central regions of North America. The bulk of the continental population winters in Mexico and Central America. Monitor ebird.org range maps for your location to see if migrating Orioles pass through.


With some careful planning and the right feeding techniques, you can have lovely Orioles stopping by your yard this spring. Focus on offering their favorite fruit and nectar treats, using bright colors and convenient perches to catch their eye. Maintain clean, well-stocked feeders and be patient for those first visits. The sight of these beautiful birds will make the effort well worth it. Follow these tips to turn your yard into an Oriole hotspot!