What is Black and Orange and Awesome All Over?

It was late last summer that I remember discussing Baltimore Orioles with Andrea, Board President of the wildlife center. At that time, I had recently spotted my first one while on a nature walk at one of our favorite local haunts. Andrea told me that she had luck attracting orioles to her yard when she put out their preferred foods. What she said was probably something like, and this is not a direct quote, “I put grape jam out and Orioles came to eat. Try putting out grape jam and orange halves.” What I heard though was, “I personally promise that if you just put grape jelly out, they will fall from the sky.”

I don’t remember exactly where I read it, but I got a tip from a bird-related article that advised setting out grape jelly (or jam perhaps) in early April so that migrating Orioles will recognize and learn where to come back for the food.

Dutifully, I made a note to myself to get jelly and have it set out in early April so it would rain down Orioles in our yard. I even bought an orange-colored dish for good measure, as I read they are attracted to the color. We here at the Seed n’ Feed aim to please.

Note to set out grape jelly

Days and weeks had come and gone without Orioles. Andrea had some explaining to do. All the grape jelly seemed to summons was rain, a lot of rain. I know, April showers and all, but still, it was aggravating to put out fresh dishes of jelly only to be left with purple water hours later. And no Orioles.

My Face Book news feed has recently become chock-full of hummingbird photos, hummingbird streaming videos, hummingbird articles, etc. Picking up what the bird world was laying down, I set out my hummingbird feeder two days ago, right next to the sad and lonely dish of grape jelly. (Please see new updates added below.)

Shortly after 7:00 this morning, something black and orange and awesome suddenly materialized on the deck. My Oriole wish was being granted.

first at home baltimore oriole sighting

I don’t know if it was persistence in displaying the purple water, the addition of the hummingbird feeder, or this woman’s sheer will to lure in an Oriole, but whatever it was finally worked.

To add to my morning glee, I saw a tiny little orb of sunshine flutter in, our first goldfinch of the year, as well as two very flirty cardinal couples. The way the males were shimming and shaking about for their ladies, the deck had become an avian version of “A Night at the Roxbury.”

I feel like I’ve triple-dipped today from the bowl of birdie delights.

male goldfinch on thistle sock feeder

The female Red-winged Blackbird pictured below is not a new customer, but since she was really showboating on that tray of seeds when I was snapping the other pictures, I am giving her a guest appearance in this post. I can take a hint!

female red winged blackbird

Updates: 
1. Since finishing the last of the store-bought red hummingbird nectar, I am making my own using Audubon’s simple recipe (without dye).
2. When I put a little suet on the deck floor to help feed the local one-legged European Starling, more Orioles appeared that ate both the suet and the grape jelly.

orioles eating suet

Lady oriole on the cup of grape jelly on the left, two males sharing suet on the right.

Here is that one-legged starling that has been visiting us regularly since winter. one legged starling eating

I’m pretty sure I got busted here snapping photos by the lady Oriole.

caught by female oriole

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