When you spy the colorful plumage of a striking oriole in your backyard, you may just begin a quest to keep them coming back and draw them out of their usual high treetops. That’s exactly what happened to me this summer. We had front row seats for the raising of two nests full of new baby robins this summer since the parents decided to set up housekeeping at the corner of our patio pergola for the season. Extremely cool.
Both parents painstakingly hopped around the backyard in search of something to dig up and feed the little ones. Then they would stealthily fly into the thick wisteria, trying to fake us out by entering somewhere where the nest was not and then moving to their real target: the hungry younguns. Consequently, I am now thoroughly acquainted with the movements of a robin and how they find food in our yard.
So one evening as I’m relaxing on my swing, I spy some flashes of orange in the upper tree branches of the fencerow. Yep, robins, I think. We have a ton of them. But wait! These birds were up there hanging in all sorts of ways to reach berries from the Allegheny viburnum! These were some spry songbirds that weren’t really behaving like our robins. After some quick research, I realized these were indeed orioles up there having a grand old time enjoying some fruit at summer’s end.
I have more time this summer to enjoy the backyard birds, so this is a first for me seeing orioles right here at home, although in our region it’s not at all uncommon if you’re looking.
I set out this week to make a feeder to entice the little cuties further down into the yard so we can get a better look before they leave for the season. I found out three preferences of orioles: Number one, they like the color orange. Number two, they like to feast on oranges. And number three, they enjoy grape jelly.
My little DIY feeder sports an oriole-eye-catching shade and two containers for their preferred foods. So far on day one, no orioles, but a hummingbird took some orange juice. Let’s hope they find the feeder before they’re off for warmer places!
Two small shallow jelly jars
Six feet of copper color wire, 20 gauge (I plan to make another using more heavy-duty wire. This was easy to bend and work with, but the jars could use a little stronger support)
Jewery charm for decoration if desired
- Spray paint the jars according to the paint can instructions. Thin coats work best. I only spraypaint outdoors.
- Once the jars are dry, you can construct your wire hanger. Find the center of the wire and create a small loop. Twist the wire together. This is what will become the top twisted hook. I did 20 tight twists at the top.
- If you plan to put a charm on your feeder, string it onto one of the wire pieces at this point, then twist the two wires to keep it there.
- Form an oval-shaped opening with the two wires that is the right size for your charm.
- Twist the two wires together tightly to form the central brace.
- Take one of the jars and place it on the left side of your wire hanger. Using the jar just under the lip as a guide, go around the jar three times with the wire. Do the same on the right side.
- Tuck the wires into the jar-sized circles on each side and cut to length.
- Using separate pieces of wire, wrap the two circles and wrap to the central brace. Use pliers to tuck in any ends.
- Place the jars into the hanger
- Hang from an s hook
- You’re done!
If you prefer to just buy an oriole feeder, there are a lot of great options like this one from Wayfair.