Do Orioles Like Grape Jelly?

why do orioles like grape jelly

Have you ever wondered about feeding grape jelly to orioles? Is it safe or not? Orioles are one of the most colourful backyard visitors in North America. They are drawn to food, blooms, and bird feeders that complement their vivid orange plumage.

Orioles have seasonal dietary preferences, with fruit making up the majority of what they consume in the fall and winter. Caterpillars, in particular, constitute a major portion of their diet throughout the summer.

Orioles are particularly known to love to feed on grape jelly. Different varieties of orioles are likely to flock to your garden if you put out a bird feeder with some grape jelly.

Why do orioles like grape jelly then? In short, the brief shift in flavour is due to breeding season and the necessity to provide high-nutrient food for their young. The juicy, sugary, and tasty grape jelly is enticing to orioles because it is rich in carbohydrates, vitamin C and antioxidants and a lot of other nutrients, and orioles frequently stop by backyard feeders that are supplied with grape jelly.

Why Do Orioles Like Grape Jelly So Much?

grape jelly for oriole

Orioles can be necrovores, insectivores, and fruit eaters. They consume vibrantly coloured, ripe fruit, nectar, moths, insects, spiders, and worms.

They also like to have caterpillars and their larvae. Occasionally, they can be also found to consume flower buds, flowers, and brambles.

Different species of oriole have differently preferred meals.

Orioles are feeding birds and typically enjoy sweet and sugary foods in the spring when their migration is paused.

Fruit and grape jelly are both high-energy foods for orioles, so they provide the boost that orioles require to finish their migratory voyage.

Due to the high sugar content in grape jelly, they have more energy than usual which is suitable for the long and arduous winter migration that orioles undertake. Additionally, grape jelly contains components that orioles truly require, such as antioxidants, carbohydrates, vitamin C, and other nutrients.

If you are a keen bird-enthusiast and looking to invite orioles to your garden, then, as the majority of backyard birders also agree, grape jellies are the best type of food to give to orioles.

You should purchase this oriole feeder, this feeder is especially designed for orioles grape jelly.

You can also use a shallow container from your kitchen.

To prevent orioles from knocking them to the ground if you’re using a container, be sure to secure it by fastening it with a wire maybe.

You can either serve the jelly as it is or dilute it with water. Make sure the liquid has a thick juice-like consistency. This ensures that the visiting birds do not get stuck in gooey jelly while feeding.

Feeding Orioles Grape Jelly The Right Way

how to feed grape jelly to orioles

Do you want to attract orioles and don’t know how? One of the best ways to attract these backyard birds is to place a grape jelly feeder but it’s not all you need. You need to know the right way to feed orioles grape gelly otherwise these feeing birds won’t come to your backyard.

Orioles love grape jelly and won’t be able to resist it if you offer it in little plates, in a hollow orange rind, or spread over an orange half.

Though the birds like grape jelly more, they will also eat orange marmalade and jams or jellies made with mulberries, red cherries, strawberries, apples, or raspberries.

If you want to offer orioles grape jelly, make sure to not put any jelly in the feeder that contains a sugar alternative or is sugar-free. (Here’s our researched guide on best oriole feeders)

Sugar provides the birds with the calories and energy they require; artificial sugar or other substitutes may be hazardous to birds.

Jellies should ideally be organic and you can think about providing crushed grapes in addition to other foods that are suitable for them as a more nutrient-dense jelly substitute.

When they visit feeders quite often, it would be wise to simply provide a small amount of grape jelly.

Since jelly alone does not give enough protein or other elements for the healthiest diet, this will guarantee that the birds seek out a larger variety of food sources for better-balanced nutrition.

Is it Safe to Feed Orioles Grape Jelly?

People generally advise leaving out jelly and oranges for them but it must be remembered that there are significant cautions which need to be minded when feeding jelly to wild birds since it is high fructose and sweeter than any natural bird meal.

It is advisable to provide only homemade jelly during the spring and fall migration seasons, mostly during cold snaps when starving migrants need more calories. Do not put the jelly with artificial sweeteners as they are hazardous and have no nutritional value.

Large amounts of jelly left out to constitute a clear and present risk to birds because they can get caught in it since it’s sticky.

Make sure whenever you are leaving food for them, put it in small containers. Prefer feeding the grape jelly in a cup-cake size beaker rather than a cereal bowl. Birds wouldn’t get caught in small quantities in small containers.

To prevent the stickiness and overwhelming sweetness of jelly, some people lay out grape halves.

But since grapes get mouldy and gooey in warm weather far too rapidly to be useful, it is advisable to dilute the jelly with water to the consistency of a thick juice.

It is also essential to keep a watch to not allow the same birds to visit jelly feeders more frequently than a few times each day in late spring and summer.

Also, take away the feeders if adults bring their young to eat jelly more than once or twice each day. More than carbohydrates, growing chicks and adults through their end-of-summer moult require protein. (Source)

Too much sugar can result in a dense calorie surge and can be inhibiting young chic growth.

There is no scientific research available to establish if jelly’s advantages outweigh its drawbacks or whether high-fructose corn syrup or sugar-based jellies are preferable.

But they sure do attract this splash-of-colour sort of bird but they should be fed in a reasonable quantity only.

What Else Can Be Fed to These Backyard Birds (orioles)?

Concentrated corn syrup, beetles, grasshoppers, spiders, and fruit like mulberries, oranges, grapes and wild black cherries are some of the favourite foods that orioles relish with great appreciation.

If you wish to attract these colourful birds and looking for some suggestions to feed orioles grape jelly, have a look beneath:


Both the orange color and orange fruit appeal to orioles. Oranges are a great treat for orioles as a result. Unless you have them in slices, make sure the oranges are sliced in half.

Orange bird feeders have been known to draw orioles to backyards, according to some bird observers.

Therefore, it would be beneficial if your oriole feeders are painted a bright orange hue so that orioles could see them and come to the bird feeding stations.


Make sure your garden is blooming with a variety of brightly coloured flowers as orioles are drawn to flowers and are frequently seen sticking their beaks inside of them to drink the nectar.

They must perch on a handy twig or limb to get their beaks into the blossoming bud because they are unable to hover like hummingbirds.

Flower nectar draws a lot of insects too. The orioles take advantage of this situation by savouring a taste of the delicious nectar and get their daily protein requirements from the insects in the blossoms.

Orioles occasionally consume flowers or flower buds as well.


mealworms for orioles

Orioles often prefer eating insects during the beginning of nesting seasons because they provide them with a lot of protein and nourishment.

Mealworms would be the ideal diet for orioles because, in the outdoors, they prefer eating caterpillars. Make sure to set them out in a dish that can be seen.

At the start of nesting season, you should put it in the grape jelly dish you use as your oriole feeder.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do orioles like seeds and grains?

No, orioles do not consume seeds sunflower and safflower and grains such as wheat, millet, and cereals, unlike other birds.

Instead, they only eat syrupy fruits such as berries, oranges, grapes, nectar, and occasionally insects, and caterpillars at certain seasons of the year.

Do orioles like mealworms?

Surely, orioles do graze on insects and other invertebrates, such as mealworms, during the nesting season.

In the first few days after hatching, nestlings are fed a diet of insects, caterpillars, and other larvae. It can be either live or dried, orioles enjoy them regardless.

What time of the day do orioles visit the backyard to feed?

All day long, the Baltimore oriole keeps foraging and feeding energetically.

They frequently fly overnight throughout their migrations, then feed and rest during the day, making them among the first visitors of the day to feeding stations.

Should I stop feeding Grape Jelly to orioles?

Although orioles are a great grape jelly lover and for the whole spring, they hog on jelly, jams and other fruits.

However, you should cease feeding orioles grape jelly once it becomes warm outside, especially in late spring and summer.

Growing adults and chicks require more protein during this period than carbohydrates, hence you should be careful to stop leaving jelly in feeders once summer approaches.


Orioles enjoy grape jelly, sweets, fruits and other sugary syrups. Additionally, grape jelly contains a large amount of sugar content that provides orioles with the necessary energy that they require for migration and attracting orioles.

Feeding on grape jelly allows it to consume as much sugar in a single meal as it would if it spent the whole day foraging.

Do you ever get confused in identifying orioles among other birds? Here a guide on Birds That Look Like Orioles.

Donald Bergeson

I have always been fascinated by the skill, strength, and beauty of birds.They help in maintaining a balance of ecological environment. At Best Bird Guide, I share all of my experiences and discoveries that I have got so far and inspire more devoted fans.

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