We love it when the orioles return in the spring. Their vibrant orange makes them noticeable high up in the pine trees. The Northern orioles have two very closely related species … the Baltimore oriole and the Bullock’s oriole. The Baltimore oriole, which we see the most of, has a black hood or all black head while the Bullock’s oriole has orange cheeks. Orioles belong to the blackbird family.
As with most birds the male is the brightly coloured one and the female has more dull colours.
We have an oriole feeder but use the same food we use for the hummingbirds, which is 1 part sugar to 4 parts water. You do not need to add any colouring to the food.
Here the male and female oriole are at the same feeder … but wait they seem to prefer the hummingbird feeder. These are solitary birds outside of the mating season.
Another favourite food of these birds is oranges and I frequently add some slices onto hook by the feeder or fill up one of the suet baskets with slices.
They will visit a variety of feeders, one designed for hummingbirds, one for orioles and one for peanuts.
They also forage in trees and shrubs for insects and berries.
This oriole is sampling the catkins on the birch tree.
We will look forward to seeing the young orioles at the feeders before they leave the garden. This photo was taken in 2019.
Orioles love fruit. This photo from last year shows a young one eating the honeysuckle berries. The young orioles don’t get that lovely bright orange colour till their second year.
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