Borrego Sun - Since 1949

Nature Watch: Hooded Oriole


Last updated 5/19/2021 at 1:52pm

They are energetic, colorful and add excitement to any garden when they arrive each spring.

It's hard to miss the arrival of hooded orioles when these neon-yellow and jet-black birds show up after migrating from their winter homes in Mexico. And they are here now.

Like a few other species, the hooded orioles are easy to attract with sweets and water. Like hummingbirds, orioles enjoy nectar that you can make with one part sugar and four parts boiling water. Allow to cool before putting it out for your hoodies.

They also like grape jelly and orange slices, but these are difficult to keep fresh in the hot Borrego sun, and frankly the nectar mixture is just as popular.

Since both orioles and hummingbirds like the same nectar, you might consider replacing your hummingbird feeders with oriole feeders. Oriole feeders have larger holes to accommodate their larger beaks, but hummers will use them as well.

There are several different oriole feeders on the market, but the best I have found is the First Nature, 32-ounce oriole feeder. They can be found online for about $14. The ease of cleaning is why I prefer this model.

Make sure to hang feeders near cover and away from fences or platforms that would give cats access to the feeding birds.

In addition to feeders, orioles eagerly take advantage of a fountain or fresh water source. Especially in the warm desert air, they enjoy vigorously splashing about at bath time.

The hooded orioles spend winters in Mexico and migrate north in March. They will nest and brood here before returning south for the winter.

As fall arrives, the oriole population will have grown as adults and youngsters feed voraciously to prepare for their migratory journey.

Keep feeders clear and full and you will have constant entertainment from these colorful birds.

They will bicker, chatter and nervously bounce around, even hanging upside down from the feeder while waiting for another bird to move on.

In early September, the orioles will begin their journey south and it's always a sad time.

But for now, put out some nectar feeders and enjoy these beautiful summer visitors.

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