Archive for the ‘Orioles’ Category


April 22, 2009

Reading around in The New Yorker this week, we discovered a recent article about the late novelist David Foster Wallace who is quoted in the article as believing that true freedom, “means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to.”

Bullock's Oriole

Bullock's Oriole

That seems like pretty good advice.  So this morning we chose to pay attention to the year’s first oriole arrival.  Orioles get whiplash when they fly over anything containing grape jelly which is why we keep two feeders stocked with grape jelly.  Only grape jelly please, orioles don’t care about other flavors.  They don’t mind if a fresh orange is available to but it is the grape jelly that halts them in their tracks.

The orioles are following Joseph Campbell’s advice which was to “follow your bliss.”  But “bliss” is an awfully abstract noun upon which to base a life or a philosophy.  There is not much meat on that bone. We may know what it means to an oriole eating grape jelly, but it is more difficult to translate into living a meaningful, fulfilled human life.

But Wallace had something to say about that too. He came up with a pretty good definition of bliss; writing, “Bliss — a-second-by-second joy and gratitude at the gift of being alive, conscious.” For Wallace, that was what lay on the other side of “crushing, crushing boredom.”

You can’t be bored while watching an oriole gobble down your grape jelly; if you are truly paying attention while you watch, you’ll know a moment of bliss.

Besides, you can follow up with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for yourself.


Today marks the 39th Earth Day.  Here’s a reminder from an unknown Native American, “Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children.”

How To Attract Orioles, a/k/a Grape Jelly

May 26, 2008

As we have mentioned before, the best way to attract an oriole is to put grape jelly directly in its flight path. The only stronger pull for an oriole is the migration urge. They will leave you when winter draws near. But that is about all that will make one leave its grape jelly supplier.

Here is a video about other things you can do to attract one to your backyard, including what kind of feeder to buy. As always, we encourage you to buy from a local bird store. Or us. Just not from the big box stores. They don’t need the business and small birding stores do.

Grape Jelly

June 29, 2007

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.

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