How to Attract Baltimore Orioles (What You Need to Know)

Are you trying to get Baltimore Orioles to visit your home?

By offering the right combination of food, water sources, and suitable nesting areas, you can transform your backyard into a haven for Baltimore orioles and support their conservation.

In this article, we’ll discuss how to create the perfect habitat with a mixture of the right plants, shelter, and nesting materials.

Here’s how to attract Baltimore Orioles:

  • Provide a variety of food options, including sweet nectar, fruits, and insects, to attract Baltimore orioles
  • Create an ideal habitat with a mix of the right plants, shelter, and nesting materials
  • Ensure the availability of perches, suitable nesting locations, and proper water sources to enhance the attractiveness of your yard

How to Attract Baltimore Orioles

baltimore oriole bird eating pulp from a cut orange

Taste treats are the quickest way to a Baltimore Oriole’s heart.

So first, let’s concentrate on the food sources that will be oriole-magnets in your yard.

What Baltimore Orioles Like to Eat

Baltimore Orioles like quite a number of food choices. In the wild, they have a varied diet of:

  • Insects
  • Snails
  • Spiders
  • Nectar
  • Berries

At the bird feeders, they’ll eat more food items, including:

  • Mealworms
  • Suet
  • Peanut butter
  • Jelly
  • Cut fruits

Certainly, offering a variety of these foods is a great way to attract these stunning birds to your yard.

Below are some excellent food items to feed Baltimore Orioles—let’s dive into it!

Bugs and Insects

Since as wild birds Baltimore Orioles would eat all the insects, caterpillars, spiders and snails they could find, planting a garden that attracts these bugs would also help you attract the birds.

Just having a garden with varied plants, grasses, and flowers will bring beetles, grasshoppers, and other bugs and invertebrates Baltimore Orioles prey on.


To ensure that their nutritional needs are met, you can give mealworms to Baltimore Orioles.

You can offer dried mealworms on a dish, mix them into a bird seed blend, or even get suet blends with mealworms.

Fresh Fruit and Berries

Fresh fruit is another favorite of orioles. Oranges, grapes, and apples in your backyard will be a huge hit.

Just make sure to cut the fruits into easily accessible pieces for the birds. For oranges, you can simply cut them in half and mount them on spiked feeders, or on a tree branch.

Placing the fruit on designated fruit feeders is a great way to keep the food off the ground and within these winged friends’ reach.

Don’t forget berries, too—include a blend of common berries such as raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries in your offerings, and think about planting berry-producing bushes, too.


baltimore oriole bird eating jelly out of a dish

While there isn’t any jelly in the wild for Baltimore Orioles, they’ll relish it at your bird feeder stations.

Put grape jelly in tray-type containers to coax orioles with their sweet tooth.

Or, cut an orange in half and spread some of the jelly on it as an irresistible treat.

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter makes a great addition to your oriole offerings.

The simplest way to give them peanut butter is to put it in a dish next to their other favorite foods, or even in a jelly feeder. Or, opt for suet made with peanut butter.

Just give them smooth peanut butter, which they prefer to crunchy.


Another food you can give Baltimore Orioles is suet.

A wide range of birds enjoy suet at the feeders, but for Baltimore Orioles you can hit a home run with a suet blend that combines mealworms, peanut butter, berries, fruits, and even jelly.


As mentioned earlier, Baltimore Orioles enjoy nectar as part of their diet.

One easy way to provide this source of nourishment for them is to plant some beautiful, nectar-filled flowers for them.

Flowers like:

  • Honeysuckle
  • Columbine
  • Salvia
  • Fuchsia
  • Asters
  • Lavender
  • Bee balm
  • Zinnias
  • Beardtongue
  • Butterfly bush

The orioles will be happy to visit your garden and sip nectar from these blooms.

Sugar Water

baltimore oriole at a nectar feeder

You might see Baltimore Orioles visiting hummingbird feeders—this is because they’re also attracted to the sweet sugar water inside.

If you want to give these birds sugar water, you can get oriole-specific nectar feeders designed for their particular beaks.

The feeding ports should be a bit larger to accommodate these bigger birds, and you can find oriole nectar feeders decorated with orange embellishments to attract them especially.

A simple sugar-water recipe is as follows:

  1. Dissolve one part sugar to four parts warm water
  2. Let the water cool down to room temperature, or stick it in the fridge
  3. Fill your feeders with the sweet solution
  4. Be sure to change the mixture every few days to keep it fresh

Note: You do not need to add orange dye to oriole nectar feeders.

In fact, you probably want to avoid doing this for the same reason not to add dye to hummingbird sugar water—that it may in fact be harmful to the birds, if not unnecessary.

Read Next: What Do Oriole Birds Eat?

Baltimore Oriole Feeders

baltimore oriole clinging to a bird feeder with oranges and jelly

A well-fed Baltimore Oriole will come to your yard consistently, but also consider using different types of bird feeders to cater to their preferences.

There are oriole bird feeders designed specifically for Baltimore Orioles, which typically consist of:

  • nectar feeders
  • fruit-feeders
  • suet feeders

Some feeders combine different types of foods together in one tidy feeding area.

Since orioles are particularly attracted to the color orange and grape jelly, offering oranges cut into halves and placing jelly in specially designed feeders can significantly increase your chances of attracting Orioles.

Place these bird feeders in accessible spots, ideally near shrubs or trees, which provide them with safety and shelter.

Maintaining the Feeding Environment

When providing food for Baltimore Orioles, it’s crucial to maintain the cleanliness of the feeders and replace the food regularly to prevent bacteria and mold growth.

Also, ensure that the feeders are secured from other wildlife and squirrels, as these animals may deter the Orioles from visiting.

Maintaining a balanced and diverse selection of food options for Baltimore Orioles, you create an ideal environment for these beautiful birds, enhancing your backyard’s natural beauty and giving you the opportunity to observe their fascinating behaviors.

Providing Water Sources for Baltimore Orioles

One important element to attract Baltimore orioles to your backyard is providing a suitable water source. Orioles, like all birds, need water for drinking and bathing.

A simple way to offer water is by setting up a birdbath. Birdbaths come in various designs and materials, so it’s easy to find one that fits your yard’s aesthetic.

Tips for Adding a Bird Bath

  • When choosing a birdbath, consider opting for one with a shallow entrance and gradually deepening basin.
  • This design allows the orioles to easily access the water without feeling overwhelmed.
  • Keep the water clean and fresh by changing it regularly, especially during hot summer days.

Orioles Like Moving Water

  • Adding an element of moving water can make your birdbath even more attractive to orioles.
  • Moving water creates a soothing sound that can draw in these birds, as well as other species.
  • You can achieve this effect by installing a dripper or mister in your birdbath. Drippers release water droplets at a slow and steady pace, while misters create a fine spray of water.
  • Besides being visually appealing, moving water also helps prevent mosquito breeding and algae growth in the birdbath.
  • Furthermore, it can also help ensure the water remains cool and refreshing on hot days.

Using a Bird Waterer

  • Another option to provide water to Baltimore orioles is to use a bird drinker with multiple drinking ports.
  • This type of water source allows multiple birds to drink simultaneously, increasing the chances of attracting orioles.
  • Make sure to clean the drinking ports regularly, as they can accumulate debris and bacteria over time.

Creating a Baltimore Oriole Habitat

baltimore oriole sitting on a blue water dish with pansies in a planter box

Attracting Baltimore Orioles to your backyard or garden begins with creating the right habitat for these enchanting birds.

Plant Trees and Bushes They Like

  • An attractive habitat for these birds includes the appropriate trees. For example, Orioles prefer tall deciduous trees (like oak, birch, and maple trees) to nest in.
  • Fruit trees are a huge draw for Baltimore Orioles. Plant a variety of fruit trees and bushes to create a mini orchard for these birds.
  • They also love bushes that offer flowers and fruits to sip nectar from and nosh on, respectively.
  • If you’re planting a variety of these trees and shrubs in your yard, you’ll provide food sources, shade, nesting locations, and cover from predators.
  • Remember to consider planting arrangements as well. Baltimore Orioles appreciate thicket-like clusters of trees and shrubs, which offer natural shelter and protection.

Pay Attention to Cleanliness and Safety

  • Furthermore, you’ll need to maintain a clean and safe environment for the birds by keeping your yard free of pesticides and chemicals.
  • Orioles enjoy feasting on insects, and a chemical-free space will ensure a healthy supply of their natural food source.

Give Them Access to Water

  • As mentioned already, another crucial aspect of creating a suitable habitat is providing a water source for Baltimore Orioles.
  • You can do this by having a birdbath or shallow water dish around for them.
  • Orioles are attracted to the sound of moving water, therefore, adding a water feature with a gentle flow or a drip system can further entice them to visit your yard.

Provide Privacy

  • Finally, keep in mind that Baltimore Orioles are known to enjoy some privacy.
  • Providing areas of dense foliage and well-placed tall trees will offer the birds a sense of security as they explore your garden oasis.

Plants Baltimore Orioles Are Attracted To

baltimore oriole bird sitting in a blossoming apple tree

When you want to attract Baltimore Orioles to your yard or garden, it’s important to select the right plants that will appeal to these beautiful birds.

By using native plants, you’ll increase the likelihood of enticing Orioles to make your yard their new favorite spot.

  • Fruit trees: Favorites among Baltimore Orioles include mulberry trees, wild cherry trees, apple trees, and crabapple trees—they love the flowers and gnarls of apple trees for food sources and nesting.
  • Deciduous trees: If you have trees like elm, oak, maple, poplar, willow, and cottonwood, you will attract more Baltimore Orioles to your space.
  • Shrubs and bushes: Low bush or high bush blueberry, chokecherry, raspberry, and serviceberry are all examples of shrubs these birds adore.
  • Orange and yellow flowers: To capture the attention of these vibrant birds, focus on adding orange and yellow flowers into your garden, as they are naturally attracted to these colors.
  • Nectar-rich flowers: Choose nectar-producing flowers to provide Baltimore Orioles with an essential food source. Some great options include trumpet vine, honeysuckle, and native milkweed. These flowers not only add beautiful colors to your garden but also offer a nutritional source for the birds.

Location and Perches

When it comes to attracting Baltimore Orioles, the location and perches you provide can make a significant difference.

  • Orioles are treetop birds, so offering large perches will help them feel more comfortable and secure. One option is to use tree branches, preferably in an area of the yard with a mix of tall trees and smaller shrubs.
  • You can also opt for a designated U-shaped bird perch, giving birds a welcoming spot to rest in between feedings.
  • Offering various perches of different heights will accommodate a range of bird species, increasing overall backyard diversity.
  • To make it easier for them to spot your bird-friendly setup while flying overhead or resting on their favorite treetops, place bird feeders in a highly visible and open area.
  • Consider the proximity of the feeder to human activity. Orioles are more likely to visit your yard if it’s a peaceful and low-traffic area. Strategically position the feeder away from high-activity zones, such as walkways and patios. However, keep the feeder reasonably accessible for refilling and cleaning purposes.

Nesting Materials and Birdhouses

baltimore oriole in a nest in a tree

In the spring, Baltimore Orioles search for materials to construct their nests.

If you want them to choose your backyard as their home, give them the nesting materials they need.

  • One of the best ways to attract them is to offer pet fur, hair, and yarn. It’s important to ensure the yarn or thread pieces are no longer than 3-4 inches in length, as longer pieces can pose a danger to the birds.
  • After you brush your cat or dog, just put the fur outside in your yard rather than tossing it in the trash. Also, placing it closer to the perimeter of your yard might make it easier for access if the birds are feeling timid.
  • Additionally, planting native trees and plants will create a more natural and appealing habitat for Orioles. The presence of willow, elm, oak, poplar, cottonwood, or similar trees will make your yard more inviting to these birds.
  • While Baltimore Orioles do not nest in birdhouses like some other species, you can still provide them with an environment where they’ll feel comfortable nesting. They prefer trees with an open canopy and dense foliage, which provides them with shelter and a safe place to raise their young.

Additional Tips for Attracting Baltimore Orioles

Avoiding Ants…and Humans

  • Ants can be a nuisance around feeders, but you can deter them by applying a layer of petroleum jelly around the pole leading to the feeder to create a slippery barrier.
  • Orioles are rather shy birds, so placing feeders away from busy areas and human activity can also help make them feel more comfortable.


  • If you miss the timing on feeding Baltimore Orioles, you will likely miss your chances to catch sight of them as they won’t visit your yard. So timing is important!
  • Early spring is the perfect time to place feeders outside as this is when oriole migration occurs.
  • Setting up feeders by mid-April will increase the chances of attracting these vibrant visitors.

Color Choices

  • To make your yard even more enticing, try some orange hues in your outdoor ornaments by placing a brightly colored gazing ball or ribbons in the area.
  • This can help grab the attention of passing orioles and encourage them to stop and explore your backyard.

Good luck, and happy birding!

Interesting Facts About Baltimore Orioles

  • Baltimore Orioles are beautiful birds native to North America, known for their striking orange, black, and white plumage. They are visually appealing to birdwatchers and backyard enthusiasts alike.
  • Males typically have a brighter and bolder coloration compared to females, which makes them easily distinguishable. Female Baltimore Orioles have a more muted yellow-orange color, usually accompanied by brown and gray tones that make their appearance more subtle. Despite the slight variation in their plumage, the overall characteristics of the species remain consistent.
  • These fascinating birds follow a specific migration pattern throughout the year. During the warmer months, they can usually be found in the eastern part of North America. As the weather cools down, they migrate south to Central and South America, where they spend the winter months.
  • The breeding season for Baltimore Orioles starts in late April or early May. They engage in a variety of fascinating behaviors during this time, such as singing and displaying their plumage to attract a mate. Once a pair is established, they work together to build a unique, carefully crafted nest, usually high up in the tree canopy.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best food to offer Baltimore Orioles?

Baltimore Orioles are attracted to sweet foods, so offering food sources like oranges, grape jelly, and nectar can be the most effective way to attract them.

Additionally, they also feed on insects during the breeding season; providing mealworms can further lure these beautiful birds to your yard.

Where should I place an oriole feeder in my yard?

When placing an oriole feeder, choose a location that is clearly visible, near tall trees and shrubs for easy perching and nest building.

Orioles are often attracted to bright colors like orange, so placing a feeder with colorful components can help catch their eye.

Ensure the feeder is in a quiet and safe area to make the birds feel comfortable and secure.

When is the best time to put out an oriole feeder?

Baltimore Orioles are a migratory bird species that typically arrive in mid-spring and depart in late summer or early fall.

Ideally, you should put out an oriole feeder in early to mid-spring to catch their attention as soon as they arrive in your area.

How long does it typically take for orioles to find a feeder?

It can vary depending on several factors, such as the availability of natural food sources and the presence of competing bird species.

However, if you provide the right food and create a bird-friendly environment in your yard, you may see Orioles visiting your feeder within a few days or weeks.

Which trees can help attract Baltimore Orioles?

Baltimore Orioles prefer tall deciduous trees for nesting and perching. Some popular tree options include oaks, maples, and elms.

They also tend to nest in trees with abundant foliage or near water sources, providing them with protection from predators and access to food.

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