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Every spring I have Baltimore Orioles turn up at my bird feeders. In a normal year they are around for about a week before they disappear. Sometimes they will reappear again later in the summer after they raise their young. In a typical year I might have two or three at a time show up.


Back in the spring of 2011 I had an amazing week where large numbers of Baltimore Orioles turned up at my feeder. They only stayed around for a week but they were going though over a quart of grape jelly every day.


This year was a repeat of 2011. I counted over a dozen orioles at my feeder at a time during a two week period. Once again I was going through over a quart of grape jelly every day. Fortunately we didn’t have any travel plans so I was around to put Jelly out about three times a day. Apparently I wasn’t the only one with large numbers of orioles at my feeders this year because grape jelly was hard to find at the stores. My wife had to go to three different stores to get some.


It was fun to watch the females. Apparently they are the nest builders. They would turn up with some string in their beak and sit looking at the feeder. Should I eat or take the string back to the nest. In one case the female sat looking at the feeder for over five minutes before deciding to drop the string and eat at the feeder. In a few cases they would fly down to the ground and retrieve the string before leaving but in most cases they left without it.


This year was different in that I also had a few Orchard Orioles turn up at my feeders. It appears that there was at least three different Orchard Orioles around.




This year was also different in that the orioles didn’t leave after a couple of weeks. We had a trip planned and I only had a few small feeders that I was filling multiple times during the day. It was clear that these feeders would not work. I finally made a large feeder out of the bottom of a coffee container. It could easily hold over two quarts of grape jelly. I filled it up before I left hopping it would keep them happy until I returned.


When I returned I was happy to see that my new feeder worked. I assumed that all of the orioles would be gone but I was pleasantly surprised to find that they were still around and have continued to feed at my feeders. This was the first year I had seen them with nesting materials so a fair number of them must be nesting in the area.


More photos can be found on my website.

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