Grape Jelly

In case you missed the news, Orioles don’t just love grape jelly; they adore it. In the old times, before we made this discovery, we tried to attract Orioles with oranges and those hummingbird feeder orange knockoffs. We had no success. A steady stream of years passed with only fleeting glimpses of Orioles moving past at high speed on their way to somewhere else. But then a customer came in the store and brought with her the Light. “The way to attract Orioles,” she said,”is to put grape jelly directly under their flight path.” She was right. Bullock’s OrioleWe did it and you could practically hear the screech of the air brakes being slammed on when the Orioles sighted the grape jelly. You can see the grape jelly in the lower right of the photo. After trying many feeders we have discovered the favorite to be flat bottomed hummingbird look-alike basin feeders with four indentations to place the jelly. We also tried oranges — as you can see from the photo — and we put syrup in the basin. The Orioles could have cared less. They never touched either the orange or the syrup.

This week brought the babies to the feeder for the first time. The favored method of feeding them their grape jelly was for them to perch on a limb nearby squawking and flapping their wings while Dad got the jelly and brought it back to them. Yesterday one of the babies lit on the feeder but was deterred by a House Finch who was sampling the wares. Dad immediately showed up and chased the finch off. Today, both babies are feeding themselves and ignoring the finches.

Don’t waste time with other kinds of jelly. It is grape jelly they want and they accept no substitutes.

Here is a picture of the kind of feeder with which we’ve had the most success.


UPDATE – We’ve added a video about oriole feeders and grape jelly.

6 Responses to “Grape Jelly”

  1. Nancy Sanborn Says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed your article on attracting Orioles. We, too, have put out orages and Oriole nectar feeders over the years with absolutely no success. This year my husband screwed a plastic lid to our deck railing and we put out grape jelly. Instant success!! We now have Mr. & Mrs. Oriole visiting us several times a day and always announcing their arrival with a song.

    The only problem we have now is that the starlings also like the grape jelly and remove huge bits of it quite often throughout the day. The Orioles don’t like this intrusion and put up quite a fuss. If they are at the lid eating they will spread out their wings and hunker down until the starlings leave. Good for them !!!

    Now I’m trying to find a feeder for the jelly which will allow access to the Orioles and not the starlings.

  2. Kim Says:

    I also feed grape jelly to the orioles here in Wisconsin. I have a question about the jelly. I have always been led to believe that it must be concord grape jelly. Is this true?

  3. Jeannie Says:

    Was just curious if anyone has had a problem with flys. Last year I had thousands of house flys attracted to the jelly I put out for the orioles. I hated to remove it, but the flys were so bad. Any ways to keep them out and the orioles to stay.

    Thank you..


    • fatfinch Says:

      The flies won’t bother the orioles and will attract birds that eat flies so having the flies isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But we’re stuck on how to get rid of them. We’ve never had the problem. I do have two loud, buzzing flies whirling around the computer as I write this. Wish I could get rid of them.

  4. Mary Gahn Says:

    Mary G. from Michigan says:
    There are several nesting pairs that come back every year as the neighbor used to feed them. Orioles stopped by my humming bird feeder and voiced themselves about the small holes. I began the grape jelly and found that by mixing it with clean water and making syrup that it does not dry out. About 1/3 water and 2 parts jelly. An electric drink mixer does a good job.

    The only problem we have is keeping the bowl full. We have never
    tried anything other than concord grape. I also mix regular oriole feeder syrup and mix the grape syrup in and that goes over big.
    They prefer an open container to a feeder ( it always needs cleaned and is full of ants) In an open small bowl, others eat the ants.

  5. Jo Says:

    We have used a variety of brands of grape jelly and the Orioles here in Mn do not seem to have a preference…they eat all of them.

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