BALTIMORE ORIOLES ARE HERE RIGHT NOW!

       Not too long ago, I would never have believed that Baltimore orioles would become regular winter residents in Georgia.  However, if they offer the right food Georgia bird-feeding enthusiasts can honestly say they now have a legitimate chance of enticing a Baltimore oriole to their yard during the coldest months of the year.

       This is truly remarkable, considering that Baltimore orioles have historically wintered from southern Mexico southward to Columbia.  If you have any question that the Baltimore oriole is expanding its winter range, simply look at recent data collected during the Great Backyard Bird Count.  During the 2020 edition of the count 302 reports of wintering Baltimore orioles involving 976 individuals were received.  The vast majority of these reports (95%) were submitted from volunteers living in a broad band of coastal states ranging from Virginia to Texas.

       This year I have received reports of Baltimore orioles feeding in backyards from College Park to Glynn County.  I am certain many more birds are going unreported. 

       While Baltimore orioles eat a wide variety of foods during the winter, you probably stand your best chance of attracting one these birds if you begin offering grape jelly at your feeders.  This recommendation is based on scores of reports I have received over the years from individuals that successfully hosted orioles in their yards.

       I might also add that most of these fortunate folks highly recommend that you use Welch’s grape jelly.  This belief is based on their contention that less expansive jellies do not contain as much fruit juice as Welch’s.  I might add that I personally cannot attest to the validity of this claim.

       If you decide to try to attract a Baltimore oriole to your yard with jelly, you can display it in any number of ways such as in a feeder specially designed for this purpose.  You can also place the jelly in small plastic containers.  I use the small containers used by restaurants to serve sauces.  I simply fill the containers with jelly and place them in the corners of a hanging platform seed feeder.

       If you are successful, instead of briefly glimpsing these birds as the pass through your yard on migration, you will be able to see one of our most colorful birds on a regular basis.  What a treat!

6 thoughts on “BALTIMORE ORIOLES ARE HERE RIGHT NOW!

  1. I have a pair of Baltimore Oriole’s eating at my feeders seeds to start and when I realized what they were I put out jelly(welches grape jelly). I live in Derry, New Hampshire They are here every day multiple time a day

    • Bea,

      Thanks for sharing your story. Who would have ever believed Baltimore Orioles would try to overwinter in New England?

      Terry

  2. We are from Georgia, but now live on Mason’s Island in Mystic Connecticut and always have a bunch of Baltimore Orioles all summer at our Oriole feeders. The males leave in August and the females and young usually follow in September. This year is different. We have 4 spending the winter this year. So far, they have survived a couple of nor’easters and temperatures into the single digits, but still haven’t flown south. According to what we understand, these birds need more protein to survive the cold, so the usual grape jelly and grapes may not be enough to see them though our harsh winter. Since insects are not available here now, unlike in Georgia, we are providing mealworms, small bits of suet, and Lyric Fine Tunes, a blend of tiny peanut hearts, sunflower chips, pumpkin seed chips and other small bits suitable for smaller beaks. They really go for it and seem to prefer it to the grape jelly, which they eat sparingly. So far so good, it is already February 3 and they still look healthy. The local ground hog predicted an early spring yesterday, so maybe they’ll make it. As for my husband and me, unlike these birds, we plan to move south as soon as we can dig out.

  3. Christie,

    I cannot thank you enough for your detailed report. Your report is the second I have revied from New England this year. The first was from Derry, New Hampshire. Today, I received an email from a lady that reported that she and her grandson are enjoying watching a couple of adult male Baltimore orioles feeding in her yard. When she first saw the bird going to suet cake, she immediately put on some grape jelly. Needless to say, the oriolwes much prefer to eat the jelly.

    As for your list of oriole foods, you mentioned several things I personnally have not tried, nor have they been previously reported to me. I am going to try them out here in the Peach State.

    Terry

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