How to Build an Oriole Feeder

By Kat Long

Setting out an oriole feeder in your backyard will attract the colorful, gregarious birds in spring and summer. Homemade oriole feeders are inexpensive and easy to build with recycled or scrap materials. Common species such as Baltimore, Orchard, Bullock's and Hooded orioles migrate from the tropics to North America in spring, stopping at backyard feeders for the necessary sugars and protein that fuel their journey. Orioles eat insects, flower nectar, berries and fruit in the wild; most will readily snack on fruit, grape jelly or orange marmalade, nectar and peanut butter on homemade feeders.

These plans will build a house-style feeder with a rectangular floor, two sides and a clear plastic roof to keep out rain (and hopefully squirrels). This project is suitable for beginner woodworkers, scout troops and DIY enthusiasts. Hang the oriole feeder from a tree limb with some open space around it, and watch these colorful songbirds flock to your backyard.

Round off one end of each side piece. Lay one side piece flat on a work surface, then place the coffee can on top with the curve of the can flush against the side's six-inch edge. Trace the curve onto the wood with a pencil. With a power saw, cut along the curve to create the rounded top edge of one side of the oriole feeder.

Repeat Step 1 with the other side piece. You will have two side pieces with rounded tops onto which the plastic roof will be attached.

Lay the floor piece on a work surface. Place one of the side pieces with its six-inch edge (opposite the rounded edge) perpendicular to one of the floor's seven-inch edges. The floor will extend a half-inch past the side piece on either end. Nail the side piece to the floor with the #4 box nails.

Repeat Step 3 with the other side piece. You now have the body of the oriole feeder constructed with the two rounded tops of the sides awaiting the roof.

Place the sheet of plastic over the rounded tops of the sides with the 14-inch edge parallel to the long edge of the feeder floor. The roof slightly overhangs the floor on the front and back; the nine-inch edges of the plastic are flush with the sides of the oriole feeder.

Nail the plastic roof to the rounded tops of the side pieces.

Screw one hook to each of the rounded tops of the feeder's sides through the plastic roof. Thread a length of eight-gauge wire through these two hooks to hang the feeder.

Nail two four-inch nails into the floor of the feeder. Place sections of fruit onto the nails; the nails will keep the fruit from falling off the oriole feeder.