I have been feeding about four Baltimore Orioles since spring and now my feeder has sat untouched for days. I was re-filling it every other day as they were literally waiting in line to feed, now it looks like they've moved on. I'm kind of disappointed as they really brightened up my backyard. Is this typical?
Mary M. from Wilmington, IL
Yes. It's quite common for Baltimore Orioles to perform a disappearing act during the late spring and summer. When the birds first arrive in the spring, they seem eager to refuel on fruits. Then after a month or so they suddenly seem to disappear. The birds are probably still in the area, but as soon as they start breeding and raising their young, their nutritional needs switch from high sugar foods like jelly, to high protein foods like insects and worms. Once baby bird season begins, Baltimore Orioles spend more of their time high in the canopies of trees or low in thickets where they are busy "feeding and breeding".
One suggestion you might try is to set out a tray of mealworms at your feeder once you see their numbers starting to dwindle. If it doesn't keep the orioles around, you're sure to make plenty of other backyard birds very happy.
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Don't know about your birds or your area but it is typical here in Oregon with our birds. I watched a nest of Bluebirds for weeks and wouldn't turn the sprinkler on there so they wouldn't get wet and kept the dog away and last Sunday while I wasn't watching they left! The hummers I've fed all spring (about 40 fo them) have mostly gone for no reason I can see. The Swallows have raised thier babies and all have left the area. Seems to be the way they do things.
With the orioles in my area I've noticed they don't feed for awhile, I've come to the conclusion it is because the berries are getting ripe and they prefer the fresh fruit.
I put out grape jelly and they always find their way back.
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