Sunday, May 15, 2016

Orioles in the yard.....yippee

I remember the first time I saw an oriole.  I was in my car waiting in line at the bank drive thru window.  My car window was down and I heard the most beautiful song bird singing.  I could tell it was close because it was so loud, so I kept looking. I finally found it sitting in a tall shrub right next to the bank.

I was shocked.  The bird was so orange and so bright.  It was years before I would see another and then usually just a fleeting glimpse of one darting from the top of one tree to another.  More than likely I would just hear their song and never actually see them.  That was until last year.

Last year we had about 10 pairs.  It was truly unreal.  These orioles didn't seem to be skittish at all. The cats, of which we have 4, would sit in the mulberry trees and the orioles would fly in and grab a berry and fly away, as the cats would just watch and chatter.  They never made a move to grab a bird.
I vowed last year to be prepared this year.  So when I heard the orioles singing on Saturday, despite the rain and snow pellets (yes snow), I knew I needed to go buy some supplies.  But not before witnessing not one, but two male orioles, try and sit on one of my wind spinners.
We have a wild bird supply store in our town so I stopped in to see what they had in stock.  I purchased two set ups.  The first one is a cup for the grape jelly.  The cup is orange plastic and rests in a metal frame and the frame has two spikes that each hold half of an orange.
I have this set up in the large magnolia bush.  After they tried to sit on the wind spinner, both of the orioles flew into this bush so I am hoping that they will see this set up and come back for a snack.
The other set up is a nectar/orange half set up.  With the freezing temps I thought it was best to wait until warmer temperatures before I set up this option.  But I can already tell that I like the jelly cup/orange half set up best.  It was quick and easy without any breakable parts.  The store carries extras plastic cups, so you could fill one in the house and then take it to the feeder, remove the empty one and replace with the filled cup.  If you are clever and have the time, I bet you could make your own hanging frame.

I've also read somewhere that orioles love Welch's grape jelly, but for now I purchased the jelly from the store because it came in a plastic squeeze bottle. The jelly I purchased is an oriole formula from Songbird Essentials.  I'm kind of liking the jelly jar hanger from Songbird Essentials. I might have to order one.
Here is a link to an article in Birds and Blooms warning about using grape jelly in your oriole feeders.  After reading the article I will stick to buying the birdberry jelly.

Also, I am not sure if these are Baltimore Orioles or Northern Orioles.  All I know is that they are beautiful and a pleasure to hear singing.  I have also seen two blue birds.  But for now I'll concentrate on getting the orioles happy with our yard so that they return next year.