Making an Oriole Feeder For Spring Migration

Making an oriole feeder for the spring migration

The spring migration is one of our most active times at our PA Bird Feeder 2 feeding station located in the woods of Southwestern Pennsylvania. Usually around the last week in April and first week in May the rose-breasted grosbeaks, ruby-throated humming birds, and Baltimore orioles start showing up at this feeding station.

For the past several years we have had great success at attracting the Baltimore orioles with a simple oriole feeder we constructed from simple building materials, and you can too!

We have found that many of the commercial oriole feeders you find in some of the popular bird feeding stores just do not work very well. Orioles like to feed from a stem or rod. We feel this is a more natural way of feeding for this bird. Our homemade feeder mimics this type of preferred feeding behavior. 

We show two design of this feeder. The first is for a jelly feeder. We have found that grape jelly has worked best for us for the orioles. We buy the squeeze bottles of grape jelly from the Dollar Story. You can also make a feeder to hole the traditional orange slices. We find the orioles will feed from the orange slices at the beginning of the season but will not longer feed from them once summer approaches. We manage to keep 2 – 3 oriole pair feeding here and nesting. They will bring their young to the feeders before migrating south at the end of summer.

One question we often get asked is what about rain and why don’t you have a cover over the feeder to prevent the rain getting into the jelly cups. We actually water down the jelly so this has never been an issues for us. We feel the covers or roofs over many oriole feeders hinder their ability to land and feed naturally.

Below are step-by-step instructions how you can make your own oriole feeder for the spring migration at your feeders. Here are the materials you will need:

  • Small 8″ x 8″ piece of 3/8″ plywood
  • 10″ 1/4-20″ threaded rod
  • (2) 1/4-20″ nuts
  • (2) 1/4″ flat washers
  • Orange spray paint
  • Small 2 1/2″ plastic cups from Dollar Store

Note, we purchased the threaded rod, nuts, and washers from our local Tractor Supply store.

Step 1 - Cut 3/8" plywood to 8" x 8"

Step 2 - Round corners

Step 3 - Cut (4) 2 1/4" holes for cups

Step 4 - Drill 1/4" hole for hanging rod

Step 5 - Round edges in plywood and start assembly

Step 6 - Drill 1/8" hole in rod for adding hanger

Step 7 - Assemble rod with nuts and washers

Step 8 - Pant feeder orange and add cups - Finished!

When painting the feeder put several coats of paint on and let dry for at least 24 hours before using.

Modify design for orange slices

The above design is the same feeder without holes. In this design we added 2″ drywall screws from the bottom to hold orange slices.

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