To Your Yard and Gardens
No matter what part of the country you live in, there is an oriole for you. Whether it's the Baltimore Oriole or Orchard Oriole on the east coast or the Bullock's Oriole or Scott's Oriole on the west coast, the elusive oriole can be attracted to your yard and gardens with a little help.
In my experience, Baltimore Orioles are rather skittish. I usually start to hear their song in early spring long before I actually see them. They love to perch on high trees and show off for potential mates. Check out this link for audio of what a Baltimore Oriole sounds like.
As with any bird, you will have better luck attracting them if you can provide food, shelter and water. These are the basic ingredients for attracting any sort of wildlife, you just have to know what their particular preferences are.
If you have a wooded area nearby, you can be sure orioles will be near. The taller the trees the better. I realize that not every one is blessed to live near a wooded area, but if you have a few tall trees in your yard and you have a choice to remove them or keep them, I would suggest keeping them as long as they are not a threat to your property or a neighbor's property. Obviously a dead or dying tree needs to be taken down, but if it's healthy try to keep it if you can. Orioles like to nest in trees such as cottonwood, elm, oak, poplar and willow.
If tall trees are not nearby you can plant crab apples, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, elderberries, serviceberries,and grape vines to attract orioles as well. Not only will these provide shelter, but food as well. Clusters of plantings work better than singular plantings around the yard.
Providing water is probably the easiest way to attract birds of any kind. Several sources will attract more birds faster. I have the greatest success when I have a couple of shallow birdbaths placed at different heights in the yard and garden as well as a birdbath with moving water. I use a battery operated water wiggler to create a slight ripple in the water that will attract attention. Make sure your bird bath is no more than 2" deep and if the surface is a little slippery, add sand or rough rocks to the bath to create stability for the birds. They won't drink or bathe in a place where they don't feel safe.
While feeding hummingbirds with sugar water, you may have noticed that Orioles sometimes visit these feeders as well. If so, that is great, keep doing what you are doing. You can also use a less sweet mixture of 5 parts water to 1 part sugar to save money on sugar. They sell orange feeders to attract orioles, but any bright color seems to work well. Avoid adding food coloring to the mixture as it's not good for the birds and it's not necessary.
Set out orange halves and dishes of grape jelly or orange marmalade to satisfy the oriole's sweet tooth. With that being said, orioles don't just eat these sweet treats, they eat insects and caterpillars as well, so avoiding pesticides in your yard is key. You can attract orioles as well as bluebirds by offering mealworms as well. What a colorful display that would be!
I hope these tips help you attract orioles to your yard and gardens this year.