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Nature & You: Grape jelly is 'for the birds'

The Baltimore oriole enjoys a tasty treat of grape jelly. [PHOTO PROVIDED BY NATIONAL PARK SERVICE]

The Baltimore oriole enjoys a tasty treat of grape jelly. [PHOTO PROVIDED BY NATIONAL PARK SERVICE]

Grape jelly is 'for the birds'

The names assigned to wild songbirds can be very enlightening — or very misleading.

Consider the Baltimore oriole. You'd think this bird would be confined to the environs around that Maryland municipality, but that is not the case. Instead, the name is in reference to the colors that are prominent in the official family crest of Europe's Lord Baltimore — an eye-catching combination of orange and black.

Baltimore orioles live in central Oklahoma. If you should wish to entice this colorful bird to venture closer to your home's picture window, putting out a feast of sunflower seeds will not accomplish that end. You will need a different approach.

Orioles have a "sweet tooth" for grape jelly. It is a simple enough matter of fashioning a shallow cup that is fastened to some sort of wire hanger so it can be suspended from the eave of your home's roof. It is also a good idea to attach a bird perch to this device. In addition to this, some people up the ante by also attaching a slice of orange fruit to this bird feeding station.

Bird feeding during the summer season need not be confined to just slaking the hunger and thirst of hummingbirds. Baltimore orioles would be a very welcome addition to your backyard wildlife sanctuary. You might want to give it a try.

— Neil Garrison, NewsOK Contributor

Neil Garrison was the longtime naturalist at a central Oklahoma nature center.

Neil Garrison

Neil Garrison is an outdoor nature enthusiast. He is a graduate of Oklahoma State University/Stillwater; he earned a B.S. degree in Wildlife Ecology. Prior to his 2009 retirement, he was the Naturalist at a central Oklahoma nature center for 30... Read more ›