Tuesday, March 27, 2007
We answer many hundreds of questions from people a year about all aspects of birding. Recently someone from Michigan asked us "When do Orioles arrive in Michigan"? Got us thinking about Orioles and how beautiful they are and how we look forward to their arrival in NH. Orioles who are migratory (some are not) such as Baltimore and Bullock's, arrive at different times in different parts of the country. If you live in Michigan, or NH, they may arrive at the end of April or the first half of May. If you live in the very southern part of the country, in FL, TX, AZ, CA, NM, or LA, they arrive in the last half of March. So, lucky you, they may already be there.
People ask the best way to attract Orioles. Orioles are fruit and nectar eaters so they can be attracted with orange halves, grape jelly and sugar water Oriole feeders. We plant many Crab Apple trees because Oriole drink their nectar. The trick is to have the food available when they first arrive and are more likely to use it, because wild foods are not available yet. Some Orioles will continue to come to feeders all year and others come mainly in spring. Once Orioles establish breeding territories and raise young, they shift from eating sugar to more protein, especially needed for nestling growth. A study of Bullock's Orioles found that up to 79 percent of their food during breeding is adult and larval insects, especially caterpillars.
Some people successfully offer mealworms to Orioles. We sometimes cut lengths of string for the Orioles to use in weaving their nest. We also plant blackberries for the birds and find once the Orioles are through breeding, they come with their fledglings to the berries. For further reference, our Stokes Oriole Book give complete information about all Oriole species with lots more ideas for attracting them. So its not too early to think Orioles.
Photos © Lillian Stokes, 2007