Locals have figured out how to woo vibrant Baltimore orioles to the Palmetto State.

Meghan Overdeep
May 11, 2018

If the people of Florida want to keep Baltimore’s vibrant state bird wintering on their shores, they’re going to have to step up their condiment game.

According to a recent report in The News & Observer, South Carolinians have figured out how to woo Baltimore orioles, and it involves grape jelly.

Residents of the Palmetto State might have noticed that Baltimore orioles—small songbirds recognized by their brilliant orange and black plumage—showed up in greater numbers this past winter.  Surveys conducted by state and federal agencies identified 228 orioles in South Carolina this winter, across 13 counties.

While this relocation might be the result of warmer weather caused by the earth's changing climate, some scientists think it’s because homeowners are putting jelly in their backyard feeders to attract them.

As a result, orioles are stopping in South Carolina rather than going all the way to the tropics for the winter.

“More people are feeding grape jelly and fruit to them,’’ Clemson University scientist, Patrick McMillan, told the Observer. “As long as a food source is present, they’re interested. They are fruit eaters.’’

State wildlife technician, Lex Glover, agreed. Although orioles eat plenty of things, insects included, he said it is hard for them to resist sweets.

“Why risk going across the Gulf of Mexico when you can stop and survive here and not face dangers?’’ Glover said. “They really like grape jelly. It’s, by far, the most popular food for them.”

Now, most of the orioles have made their way back to Maryland, but Glover said that as long as the food and the weather stays good, he expects the birds will be back