We’re passionate about birds and nature. That’s why we opened a Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop in our community.
Vintage Oaks at Novato,
104 Vintage Way, Suite A-7
Novato, CA 94945
Phone: (415) 893-0500
Fax: (415) 893-0511
Email: Send Message
Mon - Sat: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Sun: 11:00 am - 5:00 pm
Located between Macy's Furniture/BevMo and Pier 1.
. . . they chatter like blackbirds; the fire bursts forth on their backs when they lift their wings.
- Thoreau, The Journal, 1852
Male Hooded Oriole
We have two oriole species which breed in California in the summer, and both can be attracted to feeders. Hooded Orioles and Bullock's Orioles arrive beginning in late March and depart between August and September. They will enjoy the same nectar solution used to feed hummingbirds, although if putting out a dedicated feeder for orioles, we recommend using a slightly less concentrated nectar solution of a 6-to-1 water-to-sugar ratio (we recommend 4-to-1 for hummingbirds).
Orioles also enjoy jelly; most normal grape jellies work fine, or use our special BirdBerry Jelly, which uses a mix of grape and blackberry and comes in an easy to use squeeze bottle. Orioles may also eat mealworms (particularly attractive when feeding young birds) or fruit (grapes and others), but sugar water and jelly appear to be the clear favorites in our area. While orioles can use some hummingbird feeders, a specialty oriole feeder such as the one shown to right has some advantages: wider ports to accommodate their beaks, larger size perches, and jelly-holding cups in the lid in addition to the main sugar water basin.
Nearly all Hooded Oriole nest sites here can be referred to by street address
- Dave Shuford, Marin County Breeding Bird Atlas
Some hummingbird feeders, such as this feeder by First Nature, have feeding ports that are wide enough for orioles to access. Some do not.
Male Hooded Orioles are easily differentiated from male Bullock's Orioles: Hoodeds have an golden body with a black throat, wings, and tail, while Bullock's have a black eyeline, cap, and central tail feathers. Females are a little more difficult, but remember that Hoodeds have longer, slightly downcurved beaks in all plumages. Female Bullock's (pictured) have a very white belly in contrast to the dull yellow of the Female Hoodeds.
Visit our Bird of the Month archive to see more pages like this.