Frequently Asked Questions
Students' Questions and Experts' Answers
Contributed by Ornithology Expert Laura Erickson
Ways to use in the Classroom


Q. How can I help orioles in my back yard?

A. You can provide nesting material for them. Simply cut regular string into pieces NO MORE than 6" long, and place them outside. You'll soon see the female flying off with the string, which she'll weave into the nest. When the leaves are gone next fall you may see your string high in the tree limb. (Make sure you don't set out ANY strings or yarns longer than 6 inches--parents or babies can get tangled or even strangled. And NEVER set out dryer lint for birds! It feels soft and wonderful to us and to birds, but doesn't hold up after a rain.)

Q. How can I help orioles during migration?

A. Feed them as they migrate. Set out oranges cut in half or tie them on a tree branch. They like sugar water in an Oriole feeder, too. Grow the kinds of plants that will provide homes for them to stay and nest.

Q. What do people feed orioles that don't migrate to the tropics?

A. During an unusually cold winter in Florida, orioles flocked to Noel Wamer's feeder. He said, "At the feeder they eat oranges cut in half, crumbled sugar donuts, peanut butter, and and orange suet mix. They will also drink from the hummingbird feeders. On days with sub-freezing temperatures the orioles were eating as many as nine orange halves a day, and as many donuts as I would put out."