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self portrait - circa 1996

 

Our recommendation:  avoid high-fructose corn sweeteners

no high-fructose corn syrupWhat we have learned about offering jelly (that contains high-fructose corn sweetener or HFCS) to the Baltimore and orchard orioles, and other wildlife:

HFCS affects the satiety. Satiety (sa-TIE-uh-tee) is the bird's ability to feel satisfied or to have a feeling of fullness created by what it is eating. The HFCS manipulates the portion of the bird's brain that regulates its hunger upsetting the balance in its diet. When we offer jellies that contain this sweetener, the birds are not eating much else.  This is raising concerns among birding experts, since the oriole's main diet consists of insects, and then fruit and nectar.  During nesting season when most birds' diets naturally change to insects, which provide the high protein needed for raising strong babies, if grape jelly with HFCS is readily available that is pretty-much what they are feeding their young.

There are many reports on the affects of HFCS in our diets and how bad it is for us.  Experts say that it may also be contributing to the growing obesity problem in our children.  Let's not risk what it could be doing to some of our most beautiful songsters, the orioles, too! 

Our area hosts the Baltimore and orchard oriole in summer.  Baltimore orioles are flaming orange and black. Orchard orioles are smaller and a deeper cinnamon-orange color; the females of both species are drab yellow, gray and white and are often mistaken for a warbler.  Orchard orioles are more common in the lower third of the state.

What we recommend you do to safely attract the Baltimore, orchard orioles, and other fruit and nectar eating birds:

1.  Do not offer grape jelly that contains high-fructose corn sweetener
2.  Do offer "natural" unsweetened jellies and fruits
3.  Do offer finely chopped dark red or black grapes
4.  Do offer fresh oranges
5.  Do offer "rendered" and safe for summer feeding, high-quality pure beef suet, not just animal fats
6.  Do offer roasted mealworms

When making nectar with either white table sugar or using our Best 1 brand nectar mix, always mix four parts water to one part powder. J.J.'s recipe for feeding orioles:
    · one 20 oz. container BirdBerry Jelly
    · one cup finely chopped dark red seedless grapes
    · one 3.5 oz. package dry-roasted mealworms
    · one 12 oz. cake grated Orange Suet Dough

Stir all ingredients to blend, fill your oriole feeders, and store unused portion in a sealed contained in the refrigerator up to one week, or longer in the freezer. Orioles love it, and the BirdBerry jelly, mealies, and orange suet dough in this recipe are all basic store stock at J.J.'s if you need them.

Louise Dawson
on behalf of the the Naturalists at J.J. Cardinals
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J.J. Cardinal's Wild Bird & Nature Store ®
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12830 S. Saginaw St., Grand Blanc, MI  48439  810-695-8733
03/19/13  illustrations, text & fun © J.J. Cardinal's 1992-2013
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