April 13, 2015

Orange With Anticipation...and a Giveaway

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One of the first Baltimore Orioles in my garden last year in early May.

As I write this, the oriole feeder is up and I'm just about to set out the hummingbird feeders.

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What an exciting time!

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Last year, the first orioles appeared in my garden on May 6, and the first hummingbirds on May 7.

Field Notes

I know this because of date labels on my photos, and because I reported the sightings to the Journey North citizen science website on those dates. (Anyone can help track the migrations; you don't have to be a teacher, a naturalist, or a scientist.)

Do you think I'm too early with my preparations this year? I'd say "yes," except people elsewhere in northern states have sighted orioles. And hummingbirds have made their way to the Upper Midwest. Don't believe me? Check out the reports here, here, and here.

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Indigo Bunting that showed up on the same day last year as the Orioles.

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Tawny Emperor butterfly on oriole feeder.

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One of last year's first hummingbirds.

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The oriole feeder I use is a versatile little tool for attracting, feeding, and observing not just orioles, but also butterflies, chickadees, hummingbirds, and other birds. I wasn't fast enough last year to photograph the hummingbirds checking out the feeder, so it will be a fun challenge for this year.

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Handmade oriole/butterfly/hummingbird feeder. Just add oranges! (Oreo kitty not included.)

Want to attract orioles, chickadees, hummingbirds, and butterflies to your garden? This type of feeder is one way to do it. To celebrate the new season of wildlife support and observation, I'm giving away an oriole feeder to a random commenter. This feeder was made by my father, a talented woodworker. (Thanks, Dad!) I'll draw a name on Friday, April 17. Simply leave a comment on this post, or on the PlantPostings Facebook page. (U.S. shipping only. Outside the U.S.: Send me an email if you'd like construction instructions.)

Good luck! And enjoy the unfolding season!

(I'm linking this post to Michelle's Nature Notes at Rambling Woods.)

65 comments:

  1. I love your feeder! I've never seen a Baltimore Oriole in our garden but a friend just down the road had one this spring. Maybe one of these feeders will do the trick to entice them to visit me. If not, then the butterflies and hummers could enjoy the fruits.

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    1. For several years, I'd put out the oranges a couple of times and then give up. Last year, I made a point to put them up when I heard that orioles were in the area. Then I kept the oranges going all summer after the orioles moved on (changed them a couple of times a week), and had many other visitors. It's fascinating to watch the hummingbirds go for the juice and the little bugs on the oranges!

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  2. Oh that is so nice! We had orioles last year even without the oranges. They went after the hummingbird feeder. Maybe I'll try your method this year.

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    1. Yes, I noticed the orioles going for the hummingbird feeders, too. That was fun to watch, as well. They seem to like both! :)

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  3. I too love the oriole and have a photo of it as a banner. In my area, they say to have the feeders up in April, but I usually wait until May 1. The orange feeder is very nice.

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    1. I usually wait until May, too. But the orioles seem to be early, along with the hummingbirds. I just noticed this evening that someone sighted a hummingbird here in Madison! I hope I'll see one soon. :)

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  4. You have a great eye and these wonderful pictures of birds and butterflies are the proof! I've never seen an Indigo Bunting or a Baltimore Oriole here. They're beautiful creatures.....Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks. Last year, it seemed like it happened all at once. And the oranges and hummingbird feeders really attracted the activity. I'm so excited to see these guys again this year.

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  5. I've always been told wait until May 1, but now you've got me itching to start sooner. Sadly I have to leave very early in the AM tomorrow, but when I come back I will set up the jelly and orange feeder.

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    1. I know--that's what I usually do, too. But the reports are showing earlier activity this year. So, I thought I'd go for it. Having these visitors back will be so much fun! We've had a busy backyard this spring--totally opposite the inactivity of the winter.

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  6. What beautiful birds you have!! I spotted some orioles last summer and put up a feeder, but they never came to it, sadly. I am so very envious you have an Indigo Bunting, too! So pretty. I love the bird feeder, too. I've used Journey North to record Monarchs, but I haven't recorded birds there. What a great tool to follow the migrations.

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    1. It was exciting last year--I hope we can attract them all again this year. They're so fun to watch! We've had Indigo Buntings before, but last year was the first time I saw them at the feeders. Yes, Journey North is a great resource!

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  7. Beautiful birds!!

    The coral honeysuckle vine is in full bloom here in Tennessee, but I haven't spotted any hummingbirds yet...

    You give me hope that perhaps I'll see one soon :)

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    1. Oh, I imagine the Honeysuckle is lovely in your garden. I don't have any in my garden, but it is a beatiful bloomer. Yes, I would think you'd see some hummingbirds soon, too. I just noticed tonight that someone saw a hummingbird in Madison today. Yay!

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  8. Hi Beth, TY for visiting my blog, A New England Flowerbed. I have to confess the pictures I posted are from last year....we had so much snow that I started posting last years garden pics according to color,which I should have explained with each post!.....white flowers are my last color post....Spring has arrived and the gardens are coming to life!

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    1. Yes, that was clear from your post. That's a great idea to post by color--especially during the winter when we need reminders about it. ;-) Thanks for visiting here!

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  9. Kudos to your Dad! Beth, the feeder is very good, the creatures are wonderful, but your pictures are great! The one before the last is the best - I'm ready to eat that orange myself!

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    1. Yes, I'm thankful that he would build me another oriole feeder for the giveaway. He built my other one, too. He's an avid birder and can identify birds quite well from sight and song. :)

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  10. I'm so glad spring has arrived and that the birds will and are showing up to do their spring/summer thing. Your' photos are beautiful. I know that the Baltimore orioles migrate through here, but I've never seen one. I do see a couple of different bunting species, but not the Indigo. Wow! Love the bird feeder--it's grand to have family member who support our passion for gardens and the like. Cheers!

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    1. Thanks! I'm thrilled about it, too! Last year was the first year the orioles came to my feeder--and they visited frequently within about a two-week period. Then I continued to replenish the oranges anyway, and I started to notice other visitors to the feeder and realized it's not just for orioles. :)

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  11. I don't know if Orioles come through here or not. What I mistook for an Oriole is the groundfeeding Towhee. Wonder if they like oranges?

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    1. Hi Jean: I don't know much about Towhees, so I looked it up. They certainly do resemble Orioles. They're beautiful birds, too.

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  12. Your Dad does good work. I am sure that birds appreciate the feeders and those of us who watch, do too.

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    1. Yes, he does. Thanks. Lately, I've been seeing the finches and the chickadees at the oranges. I think they like to eat the little gnats that gather on the fruit.

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  13. Stunning Oriole! What color! Love the other photos too!

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    1. Aren't they lovely? I thought I heard one today, but didn't see it at the feeder. I suppose it's just a matter of time now... :)

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  14. Beautiful colorful birds. I love hummingbirds. In my garden there is no such birds unfortunately. Regards.

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    1. Hi Giga: I know you have some beautiful birds in your garden, too. Your landscapes in Europe are so lovely, as well. :)

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  15. Wonderful collections of birds and nature photos.. I love the Orioles.. Have a happy week!

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    1. Thank you, Eileen. The Orioles certainly are dramatic. Last year, they really changed the dynamics at the feeders while they were here. :)

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  16. That's amazing!! I love your bird feeder and how good the oranges are for birds at this time of year.

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    1. It's very fun to watch. Last year, I think I had a water sprinkler going at the same time, which probably attracted some of the birds, too. They do like our birdbath, as well.

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  17. Wonderful photos. How amazing that the oriole matches the orange. The indigo bunting is beautiful and you have humming birds! I love to see all the different birds you have. So different from ours.

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    1. Thanks, Chloris. Still no Orioles, Buntings, or Hummingbirds. We've had a bit of a cold snap, so I guess I was a little over-anxious (what me? over-anxious in springtime?). Soon they'll be here, though. I can't wait!

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  18. We have tons of little brown birds, so when a colorful one shows up it gets lots of attention. The Oriole and the Bunting would get a standing ovation around here.

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    1. Thanks, Ricki! Yes, we have many little brown birds, as well. Some of them are brown and beige all year round, like some of the sparrows. And some are juvenile finches and other birds that take on more color as they mature and at different times of the year. They're all entertaining, though!

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  19. Hi
    I feed oriole and hummingbirds as well.
    I have only seen an indigo bunting once. The are so beautiful.
    I have put grape jelly out for the oriole and guess what bird loves grape jelly at our house? The Cat Bird. :-)
    Carla

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    1. We seem to have Indigo Buntings visit each year, but they tend to be somewhat shy. Last year was the first time they came to my feeders. I don't know if the oranges attracted them, or what. They didn't eat the oranges, but they came to the feeders quite a bit.

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  20. Wonderful photos and I love the feeder! I just put one hummer feeder out and will put the oriole feeder out soon. Journey North is wonderful.... Michelle

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    1. Your feeder is really cool. I hope to, one day, see a humming bird. They're so interesting to watch on TV. Your cat is very pretty :)

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    2. Thanks, Michelle and Tim. :) Yes, Journey North is a great resource! Tim: If you have a chance to visit the Americas, the hummingbirds will be a highlight. They're beautiful and fascinating! The cat is pretty special, too. ;-)

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  21. Oh i will donate my birdfeeder to someone, hahaha! But that looks like easy to do in my case as we have lots of scrap wood. However, fruits can't be sacrificed for the birds and butterflies as they have strong competition with humans! I have long intended to do firdfeeders but haven't yet done it. I think this time i will do that at least for butterflies.

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    1. Ha! Yes, nothing fancy about it, but it works! I definitely recommend making one if that works for you. The butterflies (at least some species) do seem to like it, as well.

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  22. Thank you for the info on the feeder. I will check this out. i saw an Oriole years ago here in VA, may see one again if i put out the right feeder.

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    1. I'm hoping we'll have the same luck again this year. I still haven't seen orioles or hummingbirds yet, but the reports are showing them coming ever-closer. Very exciting!

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  23. Aren't you so sweet to give this feeder away and what a great creative dad....since i have an oriole feeder there is no need to enter my name in the drawing altho I would love this one...I have both the oriole and hummer feeders up in anticipation. I can't wait to see both these birds soon.

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    1. Anticipation ... it's fun and exciting, isn't it?! Yes, I'm happy that Dad was willing to make me another oriole feeder for the giveaway, since the other one he made has brought entertainment and joy to the garden. :)

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  24. So touching to pass your dear father's gift onto others ... blessed to have him in your life, dear friend.

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    1. Yes, I'm fortunate that Dad enjoys woodworking and was willing to make another feeder. And very fortunate that he's relatively healthy and an important part of our lives.

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  25. Beautiful pictures Beth. I noticed the Phoebe are back and we can hear the sandhill cranes. Spring is really here!

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    1. Thank you, Alain. I'm glad spring is back in your neighborhood, too. Such a wonderful time of year. Enjoy!

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  26. Oh my, lovely Orioles and Bluebirds . . .
    Wonderful photos . . .
    Perfect Springtime . . .

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    1. Thanks, Lynne. Just now catching up on some comments. Still now Orioles or Hummingbirds. But I suppose the cold and snow repel them. Can't blame 'em. ;-)

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  27. Wonderful photos...now where is my hummingbird feeder?

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    1. Thanks, Layanee. Tee hee. I had to hunt around for mine, as well. Soon they'll be here ...

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  28. Interesting post contrasting with mine about not feeding birds here. It must be so satisfying to feed and track them, and it makes for great photo ops as well. Great post, Beth.

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    1. Yes, true. I can see the benefits of both strategies. Actually, we have plenty of natural food and nectar sources here, as well, so if I didn't put out the feeders they'd probably find enough nourishment. But, the feeders probably give them a little boost. They are fun to watch!

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  29. We seen a bluebird today! I haven't seen an oriole at my house before. My daughters are in love with bird watching, we have been watching since February. We bought a house on a lake and seen four types ducks we have never seen before. So fun to watch birds.

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    1. Lucky you! How fun to share the bird-watching hobby with your daughters. It's great to hear when the next generation cares about nature and wildlife!

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  30. Oh shucks, I'm bummed I missed the giveaway. I haven't had any orioles in my Texas garden...then again, I haven't put out any oriole feeders. I'll have to try that next year. If yours show up around the same time as the hummingbirds, I'm guessing it is around the same time for us, which would be mid-March. How often do you replace your orange halves?

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    1. Last year was the first time I had success attracting the Orioles to the feeders. I think in the past I simply gave up before they got here. I'm thinking the Crabapples will attract them all, too. I replace the oranges every few days during the hot summer, and once a week during the cooler weather, like now. Frankly, the weather we're having right now is the same temperature as a freezer at night and a refrigerator during the day! But next week looks better again!

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  31. We are on about the same schedule ~ the Orioles usually arrive here around May 9th. I am not lucky enough to see hummingbirds tho until Mid July. Good idea to get prepared. I need to make sure I'm stocked up on grape jelly!!!

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    1. Interesting that we're on the same schedule. I still haven't seen Orioles or Hummingbirds, but we had a cold snap. Maybe they'll arrive next week. I'm so excited! Some people have seen Hummingbirds in my area, so some are here. Poor things hunkering down in this cold!

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  32. Sorry I missed this one last week. I'll have to have a friend check out your handmade feeder -- she's been attracting more and more birds to her yard, and this is just the sort of thing she'd like. ☺

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    1. It's pretty easy to make, for people who are handy with woodworking. I think my dad slightly modified this model for the feeders: http://bit.ly/1zOtlNy.

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