Going native for Orioles

GARDEN Q&A

June 02, 2007|By Ellen Nibali and David Clement | Ellen Nibali and David Clement,Special to The Sun

Which native plants attract Oriole birds? Can you give me a list?

Their favorite nesting tree is American elm. You are in luck because elms resistant to Dutch elm disease are now available and grow fairly fast. Willows will also do.

Orioles eat insects and fruits, including cherry, blueberry, blackberry, serviceberry, mulberry and grapes. Our native wild cherry trees abound; you needn't purchase a domestic tree. Orioles also feed on seed vegetables, such as corn, peas and beans.

The birds' numbers have declined because of habitat loss and pesticides. Orioles feed insects to their nestlings, so it's critical that pesticides not contaminate insects.

Ellen Nibali, horticulture consultant, works at Maryland Cooperative Extension's Home and Garden Information Center, and David Clement is the regional specialist. Call the center's "hotline" at 800-342-2507 or e-mail questions through the Send a Question feature at hgic.umd.edu.

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