Do birds eat oranges? You’re probably asking yourself this if you’re thinking of offering up some fruit treats on your bird feeders.
Wild birds do eat oranges offered at a bird feeder. Oranges are nutritious and offer a lot of health benefits for birds. You can attract a lot of different birds with oranges, but mainly orioles. Oranges must be offered up the right way for birds to eat the fruit underneath the peel.
The problem is a little more to it than simply placing an orange on your feeder and expecting the bird to eat away.
This guide will take you through everything you need to know about offering oranges at your bird feeders. We’ll discuss the benefits of oranges, what birds you’ll attract, as well as how to prepare and serve up the oranges.
Sound good? Then let’s get started.
Can birds eat oranges?
Wild birds can eat oranges if you help them to get into the fleshy part.
Citrus fruits have tough skins which smaller birds can’t get into as easily as other fruits such as apples.
Oranges are safe to offer at your bird feeders. They’ll provide birds with nutrients, energy, and water to keep them healthy.
You’ll be able to attract certain birds to your yard by offering oranges at your feeders.
Let’s look at a few birds that love to eat oranges.
What birds eat oranges?
When it comes to oranges there is one bird that you’ll be sure to attract.
That’s the oriole.
Orioles are attracted to anything colored orange. So an orange fruit is perfect for them.
Most of the US has some type of local Oriole species, so you’ll be sure to see them in your yard if you offer oranges.
But wait. Orioles aren’t the only birds that like to eat oranges.
Take a look at this table to find out a few common birds you can expect to attract with oranges and which birds you won’t.
You’ll see that there are a lot of birds that do eat oranges. This list isn’t exhaustive and it’s likely most backyard birds will try oranges. You may even be able to attract uncommon birds to your yard by offering oranges.
We’ve found that oranges don’t have much success attracting cardinals or finches. That doesn’t mean they definitely won’t eat them, but don’t offer oranges and expect to attract these birds.
How Are Oranges Good For Birds?
Birds really enjoy oranges because they are tasty and sweet. The best part is that oranges are crammed full of vitamin C, vitamin B, and vitamin A. Oranges are also a great source of fiber and potassium for birds. They’ll even get a bit of protein from eating oranges.
All these vitamins and nutrients are essential to keep busy birds healthy and thriving.
Oranges are 87% water and will also provide birds with a source of water that helps them to stay hydrated.
Are Oranges Safe for Birds?
A lot of birdwatchers worry about feeding birds citrus fruits such as oranges.
Oranges are safe to offer as a variety to other bird foods such as other fruits, seeds, or nectar.
There are problems with offering too many oranges at your feeder. Citrus fruits are more acidic and higher in sugar than other fruits.
Too much sugar isn’t great for birds, even the natural kind. Plus the acidic nature of oranges may cause digestive issues for them.
Oranges also don’t have any fat. This is a nutrient essential to their diet so they have enough energy to fly around all day and care for chicks.
When to Put Out Oranges for Birds
You can feed birds oranges at any time of year.
The best time of year to offer oranges at your feeder is during the spring mating season. This is when male birds will be looking out for good food sources to nest nearby. If you start offering oranges you’ll be sure to attract a lot of nesting birds.
One of the issues with offering oranges in summer is that you may attract a lot of insects.
In winter any juicy fruit such as oranges can quickly freeze over in colder weather. Make sure to offer fruits in a sunny spot or to change them regularly to keep them edible.
You may have a tougher time getting birds to eat oranges in winter, as most birds will be after seed and suet.
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Parts of the Orange bird eat
Oranges are made up of various parts, so you may be wondering if birds eat all these parts. Let’s go through each part of the orange so you know what to expect.
Do Birds Eat Orange Flesh?
The orange flesh is the juicy, part of the orange that birds love to eat. This part is soft, sweet, and easy for birds to eat.
The orange flesh is full mostly of the water, sugar, and nutrients that birds need. It’s important that this part is what you offer to birds at your feeders.
Do birds eat orange peels?
Most birds will only eat the orange flesh when offered at a feeder. Orange peels are not toxic to birds. But they’re quite bitter and too tough for the beaks of the smaller birds.
Larger birds with strong beaks may attempt to eat the orange peels.
Try not to encourage birds to eat the peel unless the fruit you use is home-grown or organic. Store-bought oranges peels may contain pesticides chemicals which you can’t wash off.
DO birds eat orange seeds?
Orange seeds are safe and non-toxic for birds to eat. You don’t need to remove the seeds from an orange before offering it at your feeder.
It’s likely most backyard birds will simply eat the orange flesh around the seeds.
Do birds eat orange pith?
Orange pith is the white stringy part between the peel and the orange flesh. Unlike some citrus fruit, orange pith is pretty tasteless.
Birds will eat the pith as they eat the orange flesh.
Don’t remove the pith from oranges as it can provide birds with a lot of fiber and vitamin c.
Can birds drink orange juice?
Natural orange juice the birds get from the fruit is safe for birds to drink.
You should not offer birds commercial orange juice to drink. These may contain artificial sugars or extra additives that are not good for your backyard birds.
Do birds eat oranges?
Hummingbirds and orioles are attracted to nectar feeders. You should fill these feeders with sugar-water nectar. Don’t use orange juice as an alternative.
Do birds Eat Orange Leaves?
Backyard birds will eat leaves as part of their diet, but would much prefer the juicy fruit on offer.
As with orange peel, unless the fruit is home-grown or organic don’t offer them to birds. I don’t recommend offering up orange leaves to birds. There is a chance the fruit was treated with insecticide as it was growing. If a bird eats these chemicals it will likely be fatal to them.
Do birds eat orange blossoms?
If you have orange trees in your yard, you’ll notice that birds love to eat the buds and blossom.
That’s because blossoms and buds are full of nutrients for birds.
Don’t try to deter the bird from eating orange blossom. This actually helps to naturally prune the trees to give a better fruit yield.
|Orange Part||Safe To Eat||Nutritious||Notes|
|Flesh||Yes||Yes||The best part to offer|
|Peel||Only organic||No||Best not to offer due to pesticide risks|
|Pith||Yes||Yes||Don’t peel off|
|Leaves||Only organic||No||Best not to offer due to pesticide risks|
|Seeds||Yes||No||Small birds won’t eat them|
|Blossom||Yes||Yes||Helps maintain trees|
|Orange Juice||No||no||Offer only plain water|
What type of orange is best for birds?
You can offer up any type of orange to birds including:
- Navel orange
- Blood orange
Most birdwatchers just opt for simple navel oranges you can buy from the store.
It’s safe to offer birds mandarin oranges such as:
These oranges are smaller and have a much thinner peel which can make it trickier to impale on a feeder.
How to prep oranges for birds
The best way to offer oranges at your bird feeders to birds is to prep them properly. The best method to use will depend on the type of feeder you are using for your birds.
Let’s look at the best ways to prepare oranges for birds.
Peeled or unpeeled?
Small bird beaks can’t break through the thick peel of an orange. So you’re probably thinking it’s best to peel the orange before u offer it on your feeder.
You don’t need to peel an orange before offering it to the birds. But you will need to cut it to expose the fleshy part inside that they like to eat.
The orange peel can act as a holder for the orange and make it easier for the bird to eat.
Also don’t remove any of the pith (the white stringy part) on the orange. This is full of nutrients and fiber for the birds to eat.
You can slice up the orange into circles with the skin unpeeled. This exposes the orange flesh on both sides and makes it really easy for the birds to eat.
If you cut thin slices it’s best to lay these flat on a platform-style feeder.
Hang thicker slices (Over 1 inch) vertically on a pole or orange feeder.
Try cutting up oranges into wedges with the peel still on, just like you get halftime at a sports game.
Wedges are a little thicker and you can easily keep them in place with a spike. Try not to place wedges directly down on your feeders without securing them. Bird easily push them around and knock them off the feeders.
The best way you can offer an orange is by simply cutting it in half without peeling.
The halves can then be held on a spike to stop the orange half from moving around.
Placing the orange half horizontally will help to keep any orange juice in the peel, like a container. This keeps the fruit fresher and the bird hydrated.
You can also hang your orange half vertically which is much more common with an orange bird feeder. The juice is more likely to run out of the orange in this position.
It’s unlikely you’ll get much success offering a whole orange on your bird feeder. Smaller birds won’t get through the thick peel with their beaks
You might be more successful if you offer it whole but peeled.
If you’re not having much success with whole oranges, opt for offering slices or halves instead.
How to offer birds oranges
There are a few ways you can offer oranges to the bits in your yard. Let’s take a look at what’s best for you.
One of the easiest ways to offer oranges is on an oriole feeder.
Oriole feeders are perfect as they are designed for offering oranges to birds.
An oriole feeder will have an area for you to impale an orange slice or half to give the bird easy access.
These usually come with an extra little cup which you can offer jelly or mealworm too.
I love this clementine feeder as it looks great, is easy to use, and is a great price.
You don’t need to go buying a new feeder to offer up oranges to the birds. You can use any kind of spike to hold onto your orange halves or slices.
Some great ideas are:
- On tree branches
- On metal fence spike
- Using a nail
- Bird poles
Anywhere that you can impale the orange can be used.
A word of warning
Be careful not to use anything that has a very sharp edge. The bird can touch this as they eat the orange and it can cause an injury to their beaks.
Avoid this by placing the orange on a surface with a long, narrow, blunt edge.
You can use a simple homemade hanger with string or yarn to hold the orange in place on a fence or tree branch. The peel helps to keep the hanger in place.
This can be a fun project to try with kids and let them watch the birds feeding on the oranges.
A platform feeder is ideal for placing orange slices direct out for the birds. Just slice up the orange and place it flat on the feeder for the birds to enjoy.
You can also place a few orange slices in a square suet feeder. Have only the orange inside no suet. The cage will keep the oranges in place and give the bird easy access to both sides of the orange slice.
Keep your orange feeder pest-free
One thing to note about offering oranges to your birds is that you’ll likely attract other animals. These can be a nuisance to your yard.
The larger animals such as squirrels or raccoons will have a good go at eating the oranges on offer.
The best way to deter them is to use a baffle around any type of feeder you use.
Placing slices in the suet feeder will mean these critters won’t get easy access to the oranges.
You’ll likely fruit-loving insects such as bees, wasps, and some ant species. These are much harder to keep away as oriole feeders are quite exposed.
If you have trouble with insects try moving your feeder’s around the yard. Also jelly alongside oranges will attract more insects. Try switching it up for mealworms instead.
Now you know that birds do eat oranges. This guide has shown you why oranges are beneficial for birds, but should only be offered with other food or as an occasional treat.
You’ll know how to prepare oranges and how to offer them to the birds.
So I hope you enjoy watching the birds flock to your feeder to try their new treat.
Let me know which bird you hope to attract by offering oranges at your bird feeders.