12 Tips on How to Attract Orioles to Your Yard (2021)

Tori Rhodes
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The secret is to start attracting orioles early

As the season whizzes by, it is too late to attract orioles, if you wait until September when orioles arrive for a migration.

Or shoot for a late-winter migration in early February with a few weeks of cold weather, and you will have to contend with more snow and freezing temperatures.

A good rule of thumb — wait until conditions warm up and then get busy attracting them!

Many of the oriole-attracting plants are rather special, and are not suitable for everyone. If you don’t mind using some exotic plants, and can develop a fondness for natives, you will have an easier time attracting orioles.

Take a look at these 11 tips on how to attract orioles, check out some recommended oriole-attracting plants, and you will be ready to start attracting these beautiful birds.

{1}. Grow a variety of food plants
{2}. Provide food for the adults and the young growing in the nest
{3}. Feeders and birdbaths are necessities
{4}. Be ready to feed oriole fledglings with a special oriole diet
{5}. Plant oriole trees for a healthy and happy oriole
{6}. Consider oriole houses for nesting
{7}. Encourage orioles with bird houses and nest boxes
{8}. Provide natural nesting places in surrounding shrubs
{9}. Offer nesting materials

Add an orange ribbon to your backyard

Large and glossy black with a bright orange bill, the oriole is one of the most beautiful of our songbirds, making it a favorite for birdwatchers across the country. This summer, ornithologists all over the country are gearing up for the Biggest Bird Count in 2021.

From May to September, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology is hosting the biggest online bird count of our time with over 200,000 participants. No special training is required to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count. The mission is to rapidly collect data across the world.

It gives amateur birdwatchers the opportunity to collect data within their local area to help the Cornell lab make better bird forecasts. Anyone can participate even if you don’t have a backyard and are trying to figure out how to attract more birds to your front or backyard.

And to get you started, you can help identify olive-sided flycatchers, a species that has changed its migration patterns in recent years. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has created a guide filled with tips, strategies and products to help you attract Orioles to your backyard.

Offer homemade nectar

There are so many different feeders, scoops and homemade nectar recipes to choose from. Chose what works best for you as you watch your favourite little bird take a sip or two – another great experience for you and a little bit for your feathered friend!

The key to successful hummingbird feeder is the sugar content of the syrup.

Be aware that you will need to make your own nectar if you want to attract these pretty birdies to your yard.

This fat-free, simple recipe has become a favorite among feeder-builders and is on the list of what experts recommend.

Mix 12 oz. of sugar and 6 ounces of honey in two quarts of water. Stir the mixture until it’s dissolved. Pour the syrup into your hummingbird feeder or hummingbird feeder design of choice.

Use oriole specific feeders

The next step is to purchase a feeder built with orioles in mind. Look for feeders that are made to hold small fruity items like raisins and small bits of fruit. The feeder should have a built in perch and be made with a hook to hang it from a tree branch.

Tempt with grape jelly

Every spring when Ruby throated and Redstarts come back from Hawk Mountain, PA. with their very first stop being my yard.

And it’s a joy to watch them perching right on one of the birch trees, catching the bugs that they subsist on for the next five months. It’s a pleasure to watch Ruby throateds and Redstarts in their first nesting season, trying to catch the bugs in their new territories, before nest building in the fall.

You can try to attract Orioles to your yard with grape jelly. When they catch the buggers in your yard, they stick to the tree branches with their feet. So, they will become easy to identify and count. Check out the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology online Bird Guide.

Encourage nesting in your yard

The key to attracting Orioles to your yard is to garden in a way that mimics their preferred natural habitat.

For several hundred species of birds, this means providing nesting structures, a source of food, and water in a way that mimics the natural landscape.

This helps because birds learn from their mother the preferred habitat of their species. And they learn habitat preferences as young birds and even when they migrate.

Although there is no one-size-fits-all design for an oriole habitat, there are some specifics to look for.

Provide structures at different heights.

Preferably, at least one pair of them should be lower than 3 feet and others higher than 50 feet.

This mimics the vertical structure of the natural vegetation they like to nest in.

Also, make sure you have a variety in width as well as height.

The ideal substrate should be wood chips or coarse bark chips.

In tropical climate, you can use coconut hulls.

“Ambrosia” trees can be added in your garden since Orioles love planting their seeds.

But don’t prune them, at least not in the spring. You can prune it throughout the year, just make sure you prune them up to three week in advance.

Just plant it in a box filled with soil.

Switch to mealworms in summer

Orioles prey on insects, particularly large grasshoppers, beetles, and caterpillars. Caterpillars are especially popular among oscars. You can get instant caterpillar meals by purchasing mealworms at pet stores. Fill a mesh bag and hang it on a tall tree. In a few hours, they’ll be chowing down on those mealworms and getting fat.

Consult a Local Expert

Orioles are more prevalent in some areas than others. While they are not common, they are by no means extinct. Get to the know the local birder or avian specialist and check out the birding newspapers. In areas where the birds are rare, they will often post hidden spots for finding them.


Birdwatching is an excellent activity for the whole family. Birds are among the most beautiful creatures in the entire world. Most schools have field trips where they center on studying a specific form of wildlife. If they don’t, join a nearby wildlife group. You’ll be able to meet other people interested in the same thing as you.

Add a moving water source

The best way to attract Orioles to your yard is to create a place where they feel safe and build their nests. Orioles need a steady water source that flows quickly to keep them and their babies hydrated and happy. Add a water feature, such as a fountain or waterfall, to your yard to provide an essential water source.

Because Orioles remain relatively close to the ground, work with your water source to ensure that it is level with the height of the birds. By keeping the water flow at a constant rate, they are able to retain a steady temperature.

By including a birdbath with your water feature, you can further entice Orioles to your yard by making it easy for you to refresh them with fresh water.

Additionally, you can add the following accessories for extra ambiance and to attract Orioles:

  • Birdhouses
  • Birdbaths
  • Hanging bird feeders
  • Parrot perches
  • Swing toy

Right feeder location is the key

Put your feeders close to the shrubs that are a natural roosting area for orioles.

Orioles love to make their homes in dense shrubs and dense vegetation.

Some species even nest less than a meter from the ground.

Placing the feeder close to the shrubs or dense vegetation will bring the orioles within easy viewing distance.

It’s also important to use a platform feeder for this purpose so you can see the orioles feeding up close. As an added advantage, once you have set up your platform feeder in the right spot, you will get a good view of the orioles as they move in and out of the bushes.

Plant the right flowers

Were you aware that the Baltimore oriole is the official state bird of Maryland? These birds seem to pop up in yards throughout the state, so the next time you spot one, raise your glass and toast the state of many colored birds.

You can learn more about these gorgeous birds and how to attract them in your own yard by checking out this article.

Keep ants out of the feeder

While many species of birds, including orioles, visit seed and suet feeders, they don’t always leave. If you’re hanging out in the same area as the birds, especially in your own backyard, you might notice house bees, small flies, and wasps that will ambush visiting birds and deplete their energy and food supplies. The intelligent orioles may even be too smart for their own good, leading them to take food from a saucer of sugar water, a corn cob, or a suet puff if they find themselves getting thirsty more frequently than preferred.

The result is that visiting birds have to expend more energy chasing off these pests. So the trick is to create a barrier that will keep these pests out of reach and far from your orioles. Again, an oriole feeder that works with a specially designed mesh is your answer. A wire mesh over the suet feeder keeps small insects out, and a platform feeder can do the same for larger insects.

But the key is to schedule regular cleanings to prohibit the build up of food and debris below, using a vacuum cleaner.

Plant the right bushes

If you find yourself across these lovely birds that sound like a 10-year-old straining mightily to play a broken symphony of gasps, puffs, whistles and squawks, chances are they’re some kind of oriole. (There are about 40 species in North America.)

If you are wondering what they eat, look for nectar-filled flowers on shrubs and trees. You can also attract orioles by planting their favorite trees and shrubs, such as Osage orange, black locust, redbud, coastal redwood, bald cypress, serviceberry, elm, willow, pine, hackberry, spicebush, eastern white cedar, and flowering dogwood.