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Attracting Orioles

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There Can Only Be One

If you’re looking for Orioles in Idaho you will only find one kind. That is the Bullock’s oriole. The Bullock’s oriole is about 7” long, has a yellow and orange chest with black wings, a black cap and chin strap along with a stripe along the eye.

The Bullock’s oriole is a bird of the riparian areas, creeks, streams, and rivers as well as the brush. Good places to locate him here in Idaho would include Silver Creek Preserve, along with the Boise Greenbelt and the creeks of the Owyhees.

Both sexes of Bullock’s Oriole sing, but the males and females sing different songs. The song of the female is similar to that of the male, but it ends differently and with harsher notes. Early in nesting period, and before and during nest-building, the female sings regularly and may sing more than the male. Winters in riparian woodlands and Woodlands edge, with some living in pine, pine-oak, or fir forests.


They build hanging nests, neatly woven of hair (especially horsehair), twine, fibers, grasses, and wool, and line them with cottonwood or willow-cotton, wool, or feathers. The birds will place them in isolated trees, at edges of woodlands, along watercourses, in shelterbelts, and in urban parks, often near water.


The Bullock’s oriole song is a series of rich whistled notes interspersed with rattles, called a chatter. They glean and probe in trees and flowers for insects and nectar (caterpillars, fruits, insects, spiders) and visit feeders for sugar water.

Attracting Orioles to Your Yard

Use the same nectar recipe for Orioles as you do for hummingbirds-four parts boiled water to one part sugar. Keep nectar fresh, and don’t use food coloring.

These birds are attracted to the color orange, so look for a sugar-water feeder specifically designed for Orioles.

Make sure your feeder has large enough perches and drinking ports. It’s not unusual for Orioles to try hummingbird feeders, but their bills are often too big.

Orioles love the color and taste of oranges. Offer orange halves on a branch or feeder. Orioles will also eat grape jelly. Serve the jelly in an open dish or cup, and keep it fresh.

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