As humans, we naturally want to provide for what we love including wild birds that visit our yards and bring us pleasure. Hummingbirds top that list.  By now we hope you know the most important aspect of feeding wild creatures is to do it correctly as to not bring harm.  In the case of hummingbirds, keep feeders clean, keep nectar fresh, never add red dyes or additives and make your own nectar using the recommended 4 parts water to 1 part cane sugar.  Sugar water feeders have the potential of attracting orioles and once you’ve seen the bright yellow/orange of this beautiful bird you want to provide for it as well.  Grape jelly and orange halves are the food of choice when it comes to feeding orioles.  But is it safe to have jelly feeders in plain few if you’re trying to attract hummingbirds and feed them too??  This question has been proposed many times this spring, so I thought I’d address it here with a common-sense approach.

It is never a good idea to feed any wild animal artificial sugars or flavorings as it has the potential of making them ill.  So before dishing up any jelly read the label.  If it contains ANY artificial sweeteners or flavorings DO NOT to use it.

Additionally, it is best to use a feeder designed for orioles when putting our grape jelly and place them away from your hummingbird feeders.  This will not stop hummingbirds from seeking them out because hummingbirds will be attracted to the jelly not only for the sweet treat but also the insects the jelly will attracts.  It is important to hang them where you can watch and monitor them.  Why?  Well hummingbirds have weak feet and griping a slippery surface is difficult for them.  If they inadvertently slip into unattended jelly it will result in grave consequences if you’re not watching and quickly rescue them.

A good rule is to NEVER use random dishes of jelly and the smaller the ‘lipped’ dish the better.  A saucer of jelly may work for an oriole, but not for a hummingbird. Use common sense and always ask yourself, “is this container ‘safe’ for my hummers?”  If the answer is no, or you don’t know, then don’t use it.

Instead, use fresh orange halves. They are a much safer choice. Orioles love them, they attract small insects which hummingbird love and you’ve all but eliminated the potential for a hummingbird disaster.

**Photo credit to Raptor Education Group and KUDOS for the great rescue and rehab!