If you want to attract orioles to your back yard, you're going to need an oriole feeder or two.
Orioles eat a very particular diet and they won't use your regular bird feeders. But there are ways to attract them and providing foods they do eat is one of the best.
What do orioles eat?
- Fruit: Orioles have a strong preference for ripe fruits, including oranges, grapefruits, berries, apples, and bananas.
- Nectar: Orioles drink nectar from various flowering plants. They are especially attracted to bright, tubular flowers like trumpet vines, honeysuckle, and jewelweed. Use the kind with no added coloring, or make your own: 1 part white sugar only to 4 parts hot water. Never use honey or other sweeteners as these may harm the birds.
- Insects: Orioles rely on insects for protein. They eat a wide range of insects, including beetles, caterpillars, grasshoppers, spiders, and other small invertebrates. They also love mealworms.
- Sugar water: Orioles love to drink the same kind of nectar you'd feed to hummingbirds.
As you can see, birdseed is one thing orioles don't eat.
Here are a few things you can put out for orioles:
What defines good oriole feeders?
As mentioned, orioles are fairly specialized birds. You can't really use feeders meant for other birds, including hummingbirds, as an oriole feeder.
This is partly because of the foods they eat and partly because their beaks are thicker than a hummingbird's beak.
The best feeders for orioles:
- Are bright orange, because the color orange attracts orioles
- Have UV-stabilized plastic parts and powder coated metal
- Have a built-in ant moat
- Are tough enough to withstand being dropped or knocked down
- Have large perches that orioles can eat comfortably from
- Have a saucer design for feeding nectar to reduce spillage
- Preferably feature built-in bee guards
How to (really) keep bees away from hummingbird feeders - works for oriole feeders too.
Our Top Picks
No matter what you want to give your orioles, there's an oriole feeder that's just right for you. These 5 feeders meet all the criteria above and offer the best durability and value for your money.
Dish & fruit spikes
Dish & fruit spikes
4 foods, anti-squirrel dome
**Below you'll find our more detailed summaries, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.
Note: As an affiliate of Amazon and other vendors, we earn from qualifying purchases.
Birds Choice Oriolefest
A 4-port saucer-type nectar feeder with bee guards included, and shallow wells for holding solid foods. It also has an ant well. If you wish, you can unscrew the handle and push it through an orange. Easy to fill and clean - just lift the top off. Holds 12 ounces of nectar.
A smaller, saucer-type nectar feeder that holds 6 ounces of nectar and has wells to hold other foods. Comes apart for easy cleaning and filling. Has a built-in ant well and a good perch for orioles to sit on and a more fully closed hook to stop wind from blowing it down. Good choice for your first try at attracting orioles or as a second feeder.
This one doubles as a bluebird feeder! Good sized glass dish to hold mealworms or berries, plus two spikes to hang orange slices or halves on. Frame is UV resistant powder coated steel. Likely to fall down if placed in a windy area, so hang from fishing line or a chain.
Interesting laser-cut steel alloydesign holds a small cup for solid foods (not jelly!) plus two tidy holders for orange halves. Fully closed hook at top to keep the feeder secure.
Twinkle Star Oriole Feeder
This feeder has it all: nectar dish, glass cup and two spikes for holding fruit, plus an anti-squirrel dome! Some say the glass cup is too deep for birds to reach the bottom but if you are using solid food, you can add a little pea gravel to pre-fill it.
Orioles don't eat bird seed but there are lots of other goodies you can offer them! You will need a specialized oriole feeder to suit their beaks, bodies and diet.
Whether you decide to offer suet, nectar, fruit or mealworms there is a feeder that will work for you. The 5 feeders we recommend here are attractive, durable and offer good value for the money.
Please don't feed jelly to orioles: it gets stick in hot weather and becomes a trap for hummingbirds and other small birds that try to eat it.