The brilliant orange feathers of Baltimore Orioles herald the return of warm weather and have wild bird lovers scrambling to catch a glimpse of these shy birds as they pass through their yards.
Although you may think of Baltimore Orioles as a baseball team, the name for the striking orange and black bird actually came from their feathers’ resemblance of the English Lord Baltimore’s family crest. The bird, just as the city, was so named to honor the family’s role in establishing the colony of Maryland.
One of the easiest ways to do this is with an Oriole Feeder. Follow these simple steps to make a simple hanging fruit feeder, perfect for attracting orioles.
Make your own Oriole feeder
- Gather your materials. The simplest forms of fruit feeder only require a few materials. Gather a metal hanger (like the kind your dry cleaner sends your shirts home on), a pair of pliers, wire cutter, cutting board, an orange, a few cranberries or blueberries and a sharp knife.
- Bend the hanger. If the hanger has a cardboard tube, remove it. Then, bend the two edges toward each other until nearly touching. Next, squeeze the bottom and top together, bending the now joined ends back towards the top of the hanger (this should form a vaguely bird-like shape). This can be done with your hands or a pair of plyers, depending on what is easiest for you.
- Snip the joined ends off the curves to form individual edges.
- Slice the orange into ¼ inch thick slices. Then, thread the slices onto the ends of the hanger so that both ends skewer the orange slices, pulling all the way to the top.
- Add blueberries or cranberries to the ends to “cap” the edges. This will make the edges look prettier and keep them from being dangerous to the birds.
Placing your DIY Oriole Feeder
Hang your homemade Oriole Feeder on a tree branch and watch charming Baltimore Orioles “gaping” as they eat. The term “gaping” refers to the interesting way of feeding these birds use–stabbing the beak into a piece of fruit and opening wide, to catch juice as they cut through the fruit.
Just like other bird feeders, it’s important to place the feeder 8-10 feet from flat rooftops or tree trunks where predators could easily reach the birds. Orioles tend to be shy birds, so set your feeders up far from places where humans or other animals tend to congregate. As they become accustomed to the feeder, you can move it closer to a convenient sitting area.
Orioles love nectar too.
In addition to simple DIY feeder like this one, Orioles–like Hummingbirds–love nectar, particularly during mating season. A combination of fruit and nectar feeders is the most effective way to attract Orioles to your yard.