Tuesday, June 4, 2013

DIY Oriole Feeder

I recently conducted a class for the Master Gardener chapter that I'm a member of on making bird-feeders utilizing natural sources, recycled materials and re-purposed items. Of course the best bird-feeder is what nature provides: nuts, seeds and fruit from native trees, shrubs and wildflowers (and native insects)... Here's my hand-out for my "bird" talk I give: 
Creating a Bird Garden



But - this class was all about creating bird-feeders and I came up with a few originals and I experimented with several I found on the Internet. I've never actually attracted Orioles to my property (until this year!), but I came up with a DIY Oriole feeder that utilizes a chick feeder as the base. This spring I caught a glimpse of the Baltimore Orioles passing through my Southwest Missouri property and I had an opportunity to give the feeder a test. I filled the feeder base with a mixture of local organic grape jelly and water (makes a thick syrup) and the Orioles sipped on the sweet juice for a week before they migrated to their summer location...



I have to admit these feeders look a little like a spaceship...  
My DIY feeder basically consists of a chick feeder (found at any farm supply store - $3.00) and a small jelly jar. To make a hanging version I drilled a hole in the jar using a 1/4" diamond drill bit and used a long 1/4" eye bolt. If you want to add a plate, just drill another hole in the plate using the same drill bit then add nuts and rubber washers to hold everything in place (a little bit of thread lock helps to make it secure). 

Click on this link for the steps in learning the skill of drilling holes in glass jars and plates: 
DIY Wine Bottle Bird-Feeders. 

Male Baltimore Oriole

Male Baltimore Oriole
Female Baltimore Oriole

Here's a few tips to attract this colorful bird from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:
Baltimore Orioles seek out ripe fruit. Cut oranges in half and hang them from trees to invite orioles into your yard. Special oriole feeders filled with sugar water supplement the flower nectar that Baltimore Orioles gather. You can even put out small amounts of jelly to attract these nectar-eaters (just don't put out so much that it risks soiling their feathers). Planting bright fruits and nectar-bearing flowers, such as raspberries, crab apples, and trumpet vines, can attract Baltimore Orioles year after year.

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