Overdue Orioles

The Baltimore Orioles were supposed to arrive early this year (according to people who know their birds), but came late instead. Normally they arrive right around May 1, but this year Judy saw our first Oriole on Thursday, May 5. Perhaps our topsy turvy  spring weather first hastened and then delayed their arrival.


Here’s a Baltimore Oriole on one of our backyard feeders. For Orioles I put out grape jelly and oranges. As you can see, the grape jelly cup is empty, and our Oriole looks impatient for another serving.


The Rose Breasted Grosbeaks come at roughly the same time as the Orioles. This year they showed up a day or two earlier. The Grosbeaks don’t have the Orioles’ sweet tooth (sweet beak?), they go for safflower or sunflower seeds.

Yes, that is a new Oriole feeder in the picture above. Some people buy sweaters for their French poodles, I buy feeders for Orioles. I fear that in doing so I forfeit the right to make fun of the people who buy sweaters for poodles.


Oriole and Grosbeak, dining companionably together.


A squirrel wants to join the party, but is prevented by the squirrel baffle from doing so.

050510 white crown sparrow
White-crowned sparrow

In addition to the Orioles and Grosbeaks, we’ve been seeing lots of White-Crowned Sparrows in the back garden, and I also think I saw a Black and White Warbler. Haven’t seen any White-Throated Sparrows, though.

How’s the spring bird watching been in your garden this year?

49 Comments on “Overdue Orioles

  1. What beautiful birds your Orioles are. As one who buys little houses for Dormice, who am I to say anything about your new feeder!

  2. I love your oriole feeders. I laughed at the poodle sweater paragraph. It is so true. Our orioles don’t eat oranges or jelly. None of the birds that make their way through our garden eat oranges. Our Catbirds do eat some jelly. My husband makes blackberry jelly. They really like that. We have had orioles and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks in our garden already this spring. The Grosbeaks were late arriving. So were the Pine Siskins. I like seeing them any time they decide to visit. You might be hosting our White-crowned Sparrows. They departed a couple of days ago from their long winter visit here. Lovely pictures.

    • I have never seen Pine Siskins – could that be because we don’t have pine trees? Your Catbirds are lucky to have homemade blackberry jelly!

  3. My but you are nice…fresh oranges and grape jelly for your feathered friends. They have their own little gourmet restaurant in your yard.

  4. Love those feeders! Squirrels can be such a menace, I grrrrr at them all the time. 🙂

      • That’s exactly it though. How does one prevent them from digging up new plants? I’ve put small rocks around the planters and sometimes a netting, and some of those pesky ones still manage to make a mess of things. Alas, the woes of a gardener eh? 🙂

    • The first time I saw one, I was stunned. I was on a work phone call with a client (working from home), but I interrupted the conversation to exclaim about the bird, which looked like a miniature phoenix to me.

  5. What beautiful birds Orioles are … And the bird feeder is perfect for them.. If there was a bird Trip Advisor your garden would get 5 stars!

  6. Dog sweaters, pampered orioles, why the heck not? And I love the term “sweet beak.” Wonderful! I definitely have something in common with the orioles.

  7. Wow. I’ve never seen either an oriole or a rose-breasted grosbeak in person. Very impressive!

    Around here, the robins and the mockingbirds are ubiquitous. I’m always happy to see finches and sparrows and bluebirds. There were bluejays hanging around in the winter, but I see them less often now. There are more cardinals here now than there used to be. And it’s great fun watching the swallows perform their acrobatics. I think the only new bird I’ve spotted around here this year has been the brown thrasher. Quite a handsome bird! https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Brown_Thrasher/id

  8. I saw a white-crowned sparrow in the bird bath yesterday. Today a wren is busily building nests in two boxes – doubling his odds of a mate? I have an oriole feeder, keep forgetting to put it out, year after year. 😦 The sparrows continue to decimate the tulip tree. 😦 And now they are after my pea plants. 😦 Who said watching birds was fun?

  9. Your oriole feeder is great as are the orioles. What lovely pattern they have – almost like the paintwork on an old racing car of shooting flames! And the grosbeak, almost like a cartoon bird, with clean lines and colours. There are so many American birds I’ve never seen outside of photos and so it’s always a delight to me when people like yourself show their pics. Thank you.

    • Sounds wonderful. No loons or bald eagles nearby in this immediate area, though you can see quite a few eagles if you drive over toward the Mississippi River.

  10. Lucky! Beautiful birds. Have never seen a grosbeak, but once had a yard full of Baltimore Orioles, just passing through.

  11. It’s always interesting to see what birds visit gardens in other parts of the world. We have had lots of Yellowhammers, Great Tits, Robins and Blackbirds this year. And Magpies. They unfortunately see to it that the smaller birds are nesting further away from our garden this year. I just hope they don’t rob the robin’s nest as we have had so few robins the past few years.

  12. Such lovely birds, no wonder you bought them such a splendid feeder.
    You can still safely mock the ridiculous haircuts if not the coats they give those poor poodles.

  13. Maybe I need to put my oriole feeder back out! I’ve never seen at oriole but have heard they pass through this area. Lucky you to see them so frequently. 🙂

  14. I’ve only seen a couple of orioles, but many grosbeaks, which is uncommon here. I was hoping maybe they might nest here this year, which would be a first. No hummingbirds yet at the feeders, although I could swear I’ve seen them speeding by the windows. It’s wonderful to see them all, though!

    • We haven’t seen any hummingbirds yet, either. Also no Indigo Buntings. Last couple of years they hang around the garden in May, but just for a few days.

  15. We had two orioles zip through last spring but I had no food out for them. So I’ve put out oranges and grape jelly this year in hopes of luring some to the yard. Nothing yet. The white-throated sparrows have been singing their hearts out though. So mournful.

  16. It’s interesting to see the birds you have in your part of the world. They look so much more exotic than those here in the UK which are mostly brown! There are peregrine falcons nesting on the cliffs, though, and we can see them swooping and diving from our garden.

    • Sounds like the falcons are exciting to watch. We have hawks, kestrels, and (rarely) owls. They are much easier to watch while perching. In flight they swoop by and are gone in an instant.

  17. What delightful and colorful feathered visitors you have, I’m only a tiny bit green-eyed…..well a lot actually! You have me smiling re the poodle comment, WHY do people do that, unless the dog is cold…but then, sighs….I must admit to occasionally getting my dog bandanas out when I want them to look a little less rough-necked, but they only cost fifty pence or so… I love that feeder! And, what a clever little gadget that squirrel baffler is!xxx

  18. The Orioles are such handsome fellow that they can get away with flouting the rules of etiquette. Late to the party? Who cares, as long as we can feast our eyes on them?

  19. Feeders for Orieles and sweaters for poodles? Not the same thing at all.
    I am so envious of your beautiful birds.

  20. Bird watching at the oriole feeder has been most amusing…lots of orioles with sweetened water and jelly. And the Grosbeaks do partake here with Catbirds, woodpeckers, sparrows, hummers and lots more. But not the squirrels…they like the suet though.

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