Nothing is more exciting than seeing the bright orange and black coloration of the Baltimore Orioles pay a visit to your yard. These beauties are quickly becoming one of America's favorite birds. They have a distinctive whistle and compose their own spring songs.
These tropical migrants typically arrive in early to mid-May in Ohio. It is extremely important to have feeders ready ahead of their anticipated landing. Orioles will migrate at night and arrive tired, cold and hungry.
Orioles love oranges and this is a key tip to attracting them. Most feeders are this color to catch their eye. Upon inspection, a sliced orange, with the juicy side out, will be a welcome treat.
Many different styles of feeders which hold oranges are available.
A strategically placed jelly feeder close to a window or patio will attract Orioles by droves. They love grape jelly! I love the jelly/jam feeder which basically has an orange blossom that screws on a jar you fill with jelly. I use BirdBerry Jelly in my feeder. This jelly is lower in sugar than store brand jelly. It is the perfect combination of all-natural grape and blackberry jellies. No corn sweeteners, or artificial ingredients are added. BirdBerry Jelly boasts it contains more fruit and fruit juice making it healthier for your visiting Orioles.
I have had some of my clients use normal grape jelly or jam which they have told me has been successful for them. I remember one lady tell me a funny story, she said ," I must have finicky orioles." She switched from Smuckers to an off brand and they refused to eat it. Once she returned to Smuckers, they returned.
Another gal told me she mixed her jelly with equal parts of water and blends it in a blender until a thick juice consistency is achieved. This stretches her jelly a little farther.
Nectar feeders with perches are also great choices for feeding Orioles. Orioles love the same sugary water as hummingbirds but they lack the ability to hover around the feeders. Many styles of orange colored feeders are available as well. The nectar can be purchased separately and just added as needed.
Once summer arrives, switch to mealworms or add a suet feeder to keep orioles around. They tend to switch to insects which provide more protein and nutritional value once nesting season begins.
If you are lucky enough, Orioles may make a nest in the shape of a basket at the tips of your tree limbs. Their favorite trees are elms but also like cottonwood trees and maples. Offer nesting material such as long strips of twine or horse hair.
The female will weave a nest in about a week while the male patrols the area and defends the territory. Once complete, the female will lay 4-5 pale gray to blue eggs which she will incubate for about two weeks. Both parents will help to feed the newborns the next two weeks. By the end of summer, all will leave and travel to a warmer tropical climate. The interesting thing is Orioles typically will next in the same spot the next year.
As for insects up and coming, Lilac borers are the next insect to arrive. They come out when the white winter king hawthorn blooms. A spray with a systemic insecticide will help deter these pests.
The lesser peach tree borer will be arriving very soon as well. This pest borers into peach trees, weeping cherries, plum, ornamental and fruiting, cherry trees, ornamental and fruiting and causes a nasty oozing sap out of limbs and or base of tree trunks. A spray of Bonide Eight with permethrin coating the trunk, especially the base, will help avoid these drilling insects. Not spraying fruit trees for this pest can lead to a serious decline in viability of the tree. This is a very important spray!! Spray when the white native Ohio buckeyes bloom. This is when they arrive.
And last but not least, Euonymous scale will be hatching and the "crawlers" will be out on variegated euonymous. This insect problem looks like specs of hard white bits of sand all over plants on stems. These are actually a protective shell where insects live underneath and suck the sap out of your plant. It's a common problem with euonymous and timing is everything. When rhododendrons start to bloom is the time to start spraying. Spray with horticultural oil or a systemic insect spray now and again in 2 weeks. This should eliminate these pests.
In closing, I want to mention the importance of keeping an eye on cold weather, 38 degrees or below. This is a telltale sign frost will occur. Cover your tender plants, tropicals, vegetables, or flowers in bloom with an old sheet, burlap or some cloth till morning temperatures rise. It's a pain but, better safe than sorry.
And finally, many of my clients' trees/shrubs have been slow to push any growth. An early start with above normal temperatures got everything starting to get the sap flowing. Mid April brought 3 nights of 17 degree weather killing/damaging vegetative growth and buds on many plants. Then a wet colder than normal seemingly endless April did not allow anything really to get started. Another cold frost filled evening in May, damaged buds on Lilacs and Magnolias. Now 80 degrees all week and things should start budding out. Patience is the key to see what is going to happen. If you are concerned with your tree or shrub, scratch the bark on the limbs and main trunk, if you have a good green color, wait, it may push some buds yet. If it's brown or yellow, chances are slim. Nothing exists you can do to help out this plant. Let nature take its course and see what happens is all you can do. Sometimes, dealing with mother nature can be quite frustrating! Thanks for reading and keep positive. Enjoy this sunshine and warm weather. It may disappear at any given moment! Thanks for reading!!