Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Feeding Orioles and Hummingbirds

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have appeared at my hummingbird feeder.  I fill it with a 4 to 1 ratio of boiled water and sugar.  I do not add food coloring.  When I catch hummingbirds at the banding station, I must release them unbanded.  Hummingbird bands have so little space for numbers that the Bird Banding Laboratory only issues bands to researchers with specific hummingbird studies.

Hummingbird enthusiasts should watch for vagrant species in the fall.  A friend in South Dakota, where only Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are expected, discovered both Rufous and Calliope hummingbirds at his feeders!  His whole yard is planted for hummers and he inspired me to always include Salvia flowers in the garden.  Besides the normal red annual Salvia, this year Erika and I planted a purple perennial species.

My colleague John H. feeds Baltimore Orioles with a feeder that holds both sugar water and grape jelly.  He goes through so much grape jelly each summer that we joke he should invest in grape jelly futures.  His neighbor suspects local food stores raise the price of grape jelly due to the summer demand by oriole feeders!  (John has not had much luck attracting orioles with orange halves at the feeders.)  The photo below is of a female Baltimore Oriole.


  1. I have never had an oriole sample the oranges I offer but I too go through jars and jars of grape jelly.

  2. I have just put oranges on my deck and have orioles, woodpeckers( 2 kinds) and alas starlings. This morning I had 3 wild turkeys in the yard also. 2 females and 1 male who opened up his tail!