Lately my Facebook feed has been chock full of orioles—everyone seems to have them! And not just one, but several orioles… one person reported having a dozen at their feeders this week! Orioles eating oranges, orioles eating grape jelly, even one adorable oriole peering in someone’s window seemingly looking for someone to supply more oranges and grape jelly…
For many of these folks, it is their first time seeing an oriole at all, and their joy and wonder is certainly understandable—I mean, how can you not get excited to look out your window and see one of these orange jewels in your yard, whether it’s for the first or the hundredth time? Impossible!
I’ve also noticed an uptick in the number of folks posting pictures of feeders they’ve designed themselves out of objects found around the house. I love how this extended time at home lately is not only bringing out the bird watchers in all of us, but it also seems to be sparking a load of creativity.
I reached out to a few posters in the Ohio Backyard Birding Facebook group asking to share their clever feeders with our readers. Here are a few of my favorites.
Debbie Parker repurposed this attractive candle holder, filling the glass votive holders with grape jelly. Because it is made of metal, it can withstand the elements, plus it’s easy to fill and clean. Over 100 folks commented on Debbie’s post, many saying they were inspired to go look around their own homes for candle holders they could turn into oriole feeders. Clearly this oriole approved of Debbie’s idea, too!
Janet Thompson used a wood circle that was left over from one of her husband’s projects to design her oriole feeder. “I drilled a one-inch hole for the jelly holder and put two screws in for the oranges,” she says. “I also used hangers from dollar tree plant hangers.” She has it hanging under a ledge so it is protected from the rain.
Sherri Adams was so jealous of everyone’s oriole sightings that she created a feeder made from two frisbees, two scrap pieces of wood, two kabob skewers, and two lids off of peanut butter jars. She says her inspiration was her budget: “I retired a year ago. I wanted to attract orioles because I had never seen one. I started researching how to attract them. I also started looking for commercially produced feeders. They were too expensive, involved going shopping during a pandemic, or waiting for an online delivery. I am not that patient. I was at Dollar General buying dog food when I spotted two orange dog frisbees.”
Back home, she screwed the frisbees to a scrap piece of wood and added a screw-in hook with a piece of scrap chain to the top. Next she says she “glued two peanut butter jar lids to the frisbee to hold the grape jelly, drilled a hole through the center wood piece, cut the length off of two cheap kabob skewers, placed them through the drilled holes, and wired them together to hold them in place for the orange slices.”
Voila! The frisbee feeder was born for the price tag of a mere two bucks.
This is not Sherri’s first foray into homemade bird feeders: “I also make bird feeders out of crystal candy dishes and candlesticks I find at thrift stores. I also make bird baths out of thrifted pottery, lamps, and vases. So I guess my new bird hobby has also become a source of a little extra pocket money. Not much but enough to buy more stuff to keep me busy.” Between birding and channeling her creativity into novel ways to feed the birds, it sounds to us like Sherri is doing retirement right!
Have you designed your own bird feeder? If so, we’d love to see it! Comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org to tell us about your design.
About the Author
Jessica Melfi is Assistant Editor for Bird Watcher's Digest and Watching Backyard Birds. She is the mother of four young birders and lives in Columbus, Ohio.