Feeding birds is a great way to introduce kids and teens to nature, right in the backyard. It teaches compassion and patience, and helps them understand how birds with different beak shapes and habits correspond with the different types of foods they consume. Below are some suggestions for attracting showy, colorful summer birds.
Attract Bright, Orange-and-Black Baltimore Orioles
Baltimore Orioles are summer birds with a sweet tooth. They love to dine on grape jelly and nectar from feeders, as well as live or dried mealworms. In the wild, they feast on wild berries and insects.
The easiest way to attract orioles is to hang a bright orange feeder with cups for serving mealworms and grape jelly. We frequently recommend the Recycled 2-cup Oriole Feeder or the OrioleFest Feeder. Hang one near a window for easy viewing. You may want to place plants with orange-colored flowers—like butterfly weed—in nearby borders as a further attractant for orioles. Some people have even tried tying a bright orange ribbon around a nearby tree as an attractant.
While it’s easiest to attract these birds early in the season, you may be lucky enough to attract migrants in the late summer as they pass back through the area. If you don’t get orioles the first year, don’t give up!
See the video below for an introduction to Minnesota’s oriole species, including tips on feeders and food!
Attract Handsome Yellow-and-Black American Goldfinches
American Goldfinches are a year-round bird in Minnesota, but their bright yellow color is prevalent during their mating season, from spring to late summer, before their winter molt to a dull olive color. In late summer, typically July, American Goldfinches begin building their nests. One way to attract nesting American Goldfinches during this time is to hang a Best Nest Builder, a ball of downy-soft natural fibers that goldfinches will pull apart with their beaks and carry back to their nests. It’s fun and instructive to see industrious goldfinches returning over and again to the ball to line their nests.
American Goldfinches will visit Nyjer® feeders year-round, but really ramp up their Nyjer® consumption when they have young in the nest. They make a slurry from the seeds that they regurgitate to their young. We recommend hanging a Nyjer®-specific feeder, with smaller holes, for goldfinches, like our Quick Clean Nyjer® Feeder, available in a few sizes. If you’re looking for a simple, one-step solution for engaging your children, you can purchase a pre-filled Nyjer® pouch. They’ll enjoy seeing how the goldfinches can cling to any part of the feeder—right-side up or even up-side down!
Attract Tiny, Iridescent Ruby-Thoated Hummingbirds to Feed From Your Hand
Our Nectar Dot feeders allow you to feed hummingbirds right from your hand. If you’ve got a patient child or teen, this would be a memorable experience, if they’re willing to stick with it! We’ve got tips on how to do it, including video sent in from one of our customers, below!