Attracting Orioles To Your Yard With Mast-Producing Trees

Attracting Orioles To Your Yard With Mast-Producing Trees

Orioles are one of our most popular songbird species due to their brilliant bright colors. There are 8 oriole species in North America, of which the most common are the Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula) and Orchard Oriole (Icterus spurius) in the East and the Bullock’s Oriole (Icterus bullockii) in the West.

Orioles are easy to attract to your garden with mast producing trees and shrubs.

Mature mast-producing trees such as such as oak, maple, and elm are the preferred nesting spots of orioles, who build their nests 20-40 feet above the ground.

Mast-producing trees are also the best source of three of orioles’ favorite food sources: fruit, insects, and nectar.

The most important source of food for orioles during nesting season is insects. Like most other songbirds, oriole nestlings and fledglings require the high levels of protein in insects to grow properly. Plant a mix of mast-producing trees that bloom in spring and early summer to attract insects to feed your orioles and their nestlings. These flowering trees and shrubs also provide a source of nectar for adult orioles. Some mast-producing trees with insignificant flowers can help attract orioles due to their popularity with insect herbivores. For example, the oak family (Quercus) attracts more than 500 species of caterpillar alone.

Fruit is the favorite food of adult orioles. Their favorite species include mulberries, serviceberries, wild cherries, mountain ash, blackberries, and raspberries.

To supplement your natural food sources, you can also purchase special oriole feeders, which often come with 3 separate feeding stations: one for mealworms, one for sugar water, and one for domestic fruits such as oranges, apples, figs, and pears.