How to Attract Orioles to Your Yard

Are you wondering how to attract orioles to your yard? Below, we go over some tips and tricks. We will also answer questions like, “What plants attract orioles?” and “What do orioles eat?”

When it comes to birds that are instantly recognizable, few stand out as readily as the oriole. Whether we are talking about Baltimore Orioles, Hooded Orioles, Orchard Orioles, or other types of orioles, the contrast between their black and bright orange plumage is striking. 

8 Simple Ways To Attract Orioles

The best way to attract more orioles is to add a few of their favorite items to your backyard. We’ll take a look at all their favorite foods to make sure these little beauties put your home on their daily route. If you also include the trees and plants they use for shelter in your landscaping plans, you can increase your chances of frequent sightings even more.

With the right food, shelter, and nest-building materials within easy reach, you’ll be sure to bring more orioles to your yard and keep them coming back for years to come.

1. Set Out A Feeder With Nectar

The most obvious way to attract orioles to your yard is to put out a feeder for them. You should fill the feeder with nectar. 

closeup of an oriole perched on a nectar bird feeder

While you can hang a feeder from a tree, you might want to consider putting it somewhere it will be more visible from above. 

Why? Birds don’t smell nectar—they look for it. If it is hard to see, they might overlook your yard. 

To see which feeders work best, check out our article on the five best oriole bird feeders to see our top picks.

2. Include Some Water In Your Garden

Orioles also need to stay hydrated. Having a water feature in your yard or putting out a bowl with water can help to interest orioles in your lawn and garden.

You might also consider a pump-fed waterfall, drip system, or garden mister. Keep the depth of any bowls of water or ponds at a maximum of two inches. 

3. Plant Trees That Orioles Enjoy

If you have maples, conifers, willows, or poplars in your yard, that is great—orioles love these types of trees. Other trees with branches that droop may also be attractive. 

an oriole on spring branches getting ready to bud

4. Spruce up your yard with some flowering and fruit-bearing plants.

The more sweet nectars and fruits are in your yard, the more likely it is that orioles in your area will take notice. Some examples of plants you can grow to attract orioles include trumpet vines, berries, and crab apples 

In terms of berries, go with darker ones like cherries, grapes, and mulberries. Baltimore Orioles show a strong preference for fruits with darker colors (citruses being the exception).

5. Try Putting Out Oranges.

We’ve all heard the phrase “you are what you eat.” The rounded orange belly of an oriole might remind you of citrus fruit. Indeed, that is an easy way to remember that orioles are attracted to oranges!

oriole bird perched on a wrought iron fence with a half an orange on top

One thing you can try to draw orioles into your yard is to cut open some oranges and put them out in your yard. You can even hang them from the drooping branches of trees that orioles like. 

6. Provide Nesting Materials

Along with providing nutrition for orioles, you may also want to offer up some nesting materials. 

One option you can consider is milkweed. Another is yucca. Dogbane is also an idea.

Orioles can use fibers from yucca and milkweed plants when they build their nests. They also can make use of the stems of Dogbane plants. 

the fluffy fiber of the milkweed plant on a seed head
The fluffy white fiber of the milkweed makes a great nesting material for orioles.

7. Allow Insects To Flourish In Your Yard

Even though we tend to focus on nectar when we think about feeding orioles, their primary diet is actually insects. In particular, this is the food of choice for oriole chicks. 

So, if you want orioles to nest in your backyard, try not to use pesticides in your garden. To keep pests under control, look into other options such as a different choice of plants or the introduction of beneficial insects.

8. Try Using Jelly

Enjoy grape jelly? So do orioles. It is safe to feed jelly to orioles, but you should not leave it out for more than 1-2 days, or it can turn into a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. If you are putting it in a feeder, take extra care when cleaning it.

What Do Orioles Like To Eat? 

The diet of the oriole consists of a pretty broad range of foods. Orioles like to eat insects, including beetles and grasshoppers. They also devour spiders. Additionally, they like berries and oranges.

Flower nectar is another key source of food for Orioles. These birds also enjoy jelly. 

If you want, you can purchase nectar for orioles such as this natural orange nectar mix. It is fast and easy to prepare and mimics the nectar that orioles find in flowers.

Do you need help selecting a feeder? See our articles on oriole bird feeders for some recommendations.

More Plants That Attract Orioles

Some additional types of trees you might consider planting for orioles are cottonwoods and sycamores. 

More food sources you can provide include Coral Honeysuckle vines, Serviceberries, Chokeberries, Black Cherries, Pin Cherries, Agave, and Ocotillo. 

oriole eating red berries
Berries are a favorite food of the oriole.

You can also try other nectar plants such as Bee Balm, Cardinal Flower, Columbine, Coral Bell, Jewelweed, Madrone, Manzanita, Paintbrush, Hyssop, Salvia, Solomon’s-Seal, Honeysuckle, Coral beans, Fairy Dusters, Fire Pinks, Indian Pinks, Standing Cypress, and Red Buckeye. 

What Time of the Year Can You Watch Orioles?

You can find Baltimore Orioles throughout the eastern United States. They breed as far north as Maine and as far south as Oklahoma. As early as July or August, they migrate south to the tropics. They’ll return in April and May.

Some types of orioles stay in some locations year-round. An example is Bullock’s Orioles, which inhabit southwestern California.


Now you know what orioles eat, what plants they like, and you have some tips and tricks for attracting them to your yard. 

How long does it take to attract orioles? The timing can vary. Sometimes you will luck out, and an oriole will spot your nectar right away. Other times, it might be a few weeks. So, have your feeders and plants ready to welcome the orioles as soon as they start migrating to your area.

Good luck, and enjoy the dazzling splendor of these beautiful orange and black birds!

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