Cedar Waxwings eating grape jelly

sheepco(MN z4)June 14, 2006

Wasn't getting much response over at bird watching, so I thought I'd post this here. Has it happened to any of you?

When the Baltimore and Orchard Orioles returned the first week in May my neighbor put out oranges and dishes of grape jelly. About 2 weeks ago about 8 Cedar Waxwings showed up and bellied up to the dishes of jelly for a snack. She now has 20 Waxwings (as well as 6 pairs of Orioles) eating grape jelly all day. They're going through two 32oz jars per day! Anyone else had this experience? Here in west central MN we normally see them on and off during the winter and early spring.

They seem very social, and the female Orioles will eat at the same dish with 3 or 4 Waxwings. But, the sparrows (Harris', White-throated, and all but one pair of Chipping) are totally gone. Did the Waxwings run them off?

Thanks for your comments.

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chickadeedeedee(z 6-7 ish Ohio)

Hi there.

The Robins LOVE strawberry jelly here while the Baltimore Orioles like the grape jelly. The Cedar Waxwings seem to like both. The Starlings and Purple Finches enjoy the mealworms.

The Waxwings seem to dine on the jelly more in the late afternoon and I have not seen them bother the other birds while feeding. I do see them and the Orioles in the weeping willow trees chasing each other. So far there seems to be no clear winner.

C3D

    Bookmark   June 14, 2006 at 8:12PM
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youreit

I can't wait to try some grape jelly! The old neighbor down the street said he might have seen a couple of Orioles dining on his (???) tree (it might be a sour cherry or something like that). I've never seen an Oriole in person, but maybe grape jelly will bring them. :)

Not sure about the sparrows, but ours all but disappeared about 2 weeks ago. Soon after, there were babies in the nests in the rafters on either side of our front door.

Brenda

    Bookmark   June 15, 2006 at 11:45AM
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jeanner(SW Ohio - Z6)

So how do you feed jelly to a bird? Do you smear it on the peanut butter suet?

I think my project for the summer will be to try and get the orioles to come to the feeder. So far they have ignored my fruit offerings but I am going to try putting it in a ground feeder. If that doesn't work I think I will tie it to a tree!

Chickee, have you ever tried using frozen fruits? I found frozen whole blackberries - thought maybe since they are more native ....

    Bookmark   June 15, 2006 at 10:31PM
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sheepco(MN z4)

peanut butter suet and jelly :)

The orioles around here like it in a shallow dish they can perch on the side of, set on the deck railing or a picnic table,etc. With grape jelly out they pretty much ignore oranges and red sugar water in a bowl.

The cedar waxwings loved small grapes (thawed, lol).

I'll try to get some pix today.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2006 at 7:50AM
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chickadeedeedee(z 6-7 ish Ohio)

I never have used frozen fruits. I suspect the Orioles and / or Waxwings responsible for taking our blueberries, strawberries and raspberries before WE can get to them. They like our pears too. :-)

For offering jelly we use a shallow dish, like the kind you would put under a flower pot so it doesn't spooge water everywhere. Its shallow and heavy enough that they don't flip the thing when they perch on the edge.

So how do you give the Orioles nectar? I placed some in a shallow dish and the starlings had a bath in it. LOL! What a sticky mess they made! Then they needed to rinse off in the regular water birdbaths.

Would they drink orange juice?

C3D

    Bookmark   June 16, 2006 at 8:15PM
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sheepco(MN z4)

Here's some pix of the Waxwing jelly group...

That 'bowl' is actually an old ash tray. Cathy (my neighbor) has four shallow jelly dishes on her deck railing and a 6" across x 3" deep clear glass bowl that she puts red sugar water in. Along with 8 other feeders with various seed and suet for all the other guests.

I keep teasing her that A) the birds will have ADD from all the sugar, and B) they will be stuck to their nests or branches or whatever from all the sticky jelly on their feet!

Thanks for looking!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2006 at 12:56AM
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youreit

Those are the most beautiful birds I've ever seen! I would love to see them in my yard. According to eNature.com, they should be in my area.

The only concern I'd have is ants in the grape jelly. :D

Brenda

    Bookmark   June 17, 2006 at 10:47AM
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jeanner(SW Ohio - Z6)

Great pictures sheepco! How in the world do the birds know that glob of purple stuff is food??? I just find that amazing. DO you remember how long it took for them to find it? I put out jelly today, didn't have any grape but had peach and strawberry. I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

Thanks for the pictures!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2006 at 4:05PM
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sheepco(MN z4)

Brenda, unforunately some ants do come, and flys. At my home I keep it alittle farther from the house.

jeanner, As soon as the 1st Oriole is spotted (or heard) the jelly goes out. They find it within the hour, but these Orioles come every year. The Waxwings just showed up one day and started chowing it down (they came about 2-3 weeks after the Orioles), we've never seen them do this before, and wonder if they will stay to nest around here. We sort of figure they will since they've been here 3 weeks now.

PS: Get grape jelly, I don't know why, but the Orioles and Waxwings seem to prefer it. The Dollar Store is usually the cheapest :)

    Bookmark   June 17, 2006 at 5:07PM
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chickadeedeedee(z 6-7 ish Ohio)

**LOVELY** pictures!

To keep the ants away, place the saucer with jelly in a shallow tray, like a baking tray, and fill that with water. The ants will be reluctant to cross water and drown to get to the jelly container.

The flies are another matter as are the bees and wasps.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2006 at 7:03PM
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sheepco(MN z4)

Outstanding plan CD3! Thanks!

Haven't had a problem with bees or wasps so far, (careful if you're allergic).

    Bookmark   June 17, 2006 at 11:27PM
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jeanner(SW Ohio - Z6)

I had a pair of orioles this spring and the female was collecting nesting material. I tried oranges - I even tried an oriole feeder (it's like a big hummingbird feeder that you put nectar in). Then I tried melon, strawberries, grapes and blueberries. None of the birds touch the fruit. And I haven't seen either of the orioles since.

We get flocks of waxwings in the late summer when the cedar berries are ripe. But I rarely see them before that.

I'll get some grape jelly and keep trying.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2006 at 11:42PM
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chickadeedeedee(z 6-7 ish Ohio)

The food dish within a shallow tray of water was a trick we devised when we lived in St. Kitts to keep the multitude of tiny ants from taking off with the cat food. Eeeeeeewwwww to see a long trail of wee ants marching to the kitty dish of canned food in the kitchen and taking their food out under the door! The water moat stopped them! :-)

Please remember that the moat will not stop a certain fuzzy, sticky and very charasmatic puppy (who we won't mention by name here but her name begins with: D-A-I-S-... ) from helping herself to the jelly or from lapping up the oriole nectar either.

C3D

ps........Pets ARE relaxing!

    Bookmark   June 19, 2006 at 11:23PM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

I had great luck with hand feeding cherries to a grosbeak. Sandy

    Bookmark   June 20, 2006 at 2:33AM
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