May 2022: Orioles and Hummingbirds

I use Earth Day as my signal to prep for birds I love to see in the yard: orioles and ruby-throated hummingbirds. By May, I’ve hung my oriole and hummingbird feeders to welcome them!

Two oriole species commonly seen in Connecticut are the orchard and Baltimore orioles. The male Baltimore orioles are brilliant-orange and black, while the male orchard orioles are a rusty red-orange and black. The females of both species are yellow.

Female Baltimore oriole

Female orchard oriole

Male Baltimore oriole

Male orchard oriole

Any of these are such a treat to see outside your door! Attracting them is easy. Place orange halves outside; you can hang them or place them on a tree twig. They love it. Of course, you can also purchase an oriole feeder and provide oranges, grapes, sugar water, grape jelly, and mealworms. You may see other birds at the feeder as well! Grosbeaks, eastern bluebirds, grackles, catbirds, and northern flickers have been spotted at an oriole feeder.

A few notes:

  1. Use grape jelly sparingly–consider it a treat!
  2. Make the sugar water yourself: 6 parts water and 1 part sugar heated together. Clean the sugar water compartment every 3-4 days to avoid growing a mold that can kill the birds.
  3. Ignore the dyed stuff sold at the store. It’s unnecessary.

In the springtime, I use mostly oranges, grapes, and some grape jelly. Come summertime, I load up on more mealworms, as this follows their natural diet in the wild.

Now, onto the hummingbirds! These spry, fast fliers will get territorial about their feeders, so if you have more than one, be sure to place them at least ten feet apart. For hummingbird syrup, heat 1 cup of sugar in 4 cups of water. Like the orioles, clean the sugar water compartment every 3-4 days to avoid growing a mold that can kill the birds.


Male ruby-throated hummingbird


Female ruby-throated hummingbird


Better yet, plant favorite nectar plants around the yard to ensure these guys will return every year!

  • Trumpet creeper (Campis radicans)
  • Summersweet (Clethra alnifolia)
  • Coral honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervivens)
  • Scarlet bee balm (Monarda didyma)
  • Beardtongue (Penstemon spp.)
  • Obedient plant (Physostegia spp.)
  • Sweet azalea (Rhododendron arborescens)
  • Indian pink (Spigelia marilandica)
  • Blue Lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica)
  • Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis)

If you’d like to learn more about hummingbird migration, check out this post here: The Great Hummingbird Migration.

Wondering where you can buy native plants? Here are two Connecticut nurseries:

Earth Tones Native Nursery, Woodbury, CT

Native: A Native Plant Nursery, Fairfield, CT

Live in New York? Check out these nurseries:

Catskill Native Nursery, Kerhonksen, NY

Long Island Natives, Eastport, NY

Want to be part of the Pollinator Pathway? Check out this website: