Will Orioles Eat Ants?

The Oriole is a colorful small migratory breeding bird. It is commonly found in the Eastern part of North America. This article aims to find out if Orioles eat ants. There are various species of the Oriole. We have the Baltimore Oriole, the Bullock’s Oriole, the Orchard Oriole, the Hooded Oriole, and others.


Orioles migrate during winter to breed their offsprings and protect themselves from freezing. They, however, return in the summer. Orioles, like other birds, feed on nectar, insects, berries, e.t.c. They have a sweet tongue, and like anything sweet, they also feed on fruits.

Orioles Prey On Ants

Several people hang up bird feeders to persuade these colorful birds to stay in their surroundings. The same applies to the Orioles. Nectar is usually found in these feeders or water mixed with sugar. This much attracts the orioles, and they come to feed on the feeder. Some even bring their whole family there and can decide to settle there.

However, this sweet nectar or water mixed with sugar also attracts ants; they are equally attracted to sweet things. These ants in their large number can prove to be a menace to the birds. Ants are a source of protein; most birds also eat ants. Orioles are not an exception to this. However, unlike some birds, orioles are not large consumers of ants, they prefer sweet foods.

Orioles also prey on insects; they majorly eat the forest tent caterpillar moth. Ants can also chase Orioles from coming back to your feeder; they can also pollute the nectar or water mixed with sugar. Insects are a source of protein for Orioles; however, they detest the taste of ants. Because of the menace that these ants can cause to your birds and your bird feeders, it is pertinent for you to protect your feeders against them.

How To Protect Your Bird Feeders From Ants?

Ants are naturally attracted to sweet foods and can be a nuisance, especially when they are many. Nectar, fruits, and water mixed with sugar, fed to birds, also attract them. You can protect your bird feeders in the following ways:

Use Ant Moats  

This is a trap used to get rid of ants; it is very effective. It bars the ants from getting into the feeder; it attracts them, thereby drawing their attention away from the feeder. The ant moat is filled with water; thus, when ants enter, they drown as ants can’t swim. This also bars other insects from entering the feeders too. The moat can also serve as a source of drinking water for the birds.

Some feeders come with built-in moats, while some don’t, meaning you have to buy the moats separately. 

Move your feeder to another location  

When ants find a food source, they leave a trail of scent behind. This enables them always to locate the food source so that they can come back anytime. However, if you move the feeder away from the previous location, they may find it difficult to trace again; this will lead to fewer ants visiting your feeder. 


Clean your feeder regularly: 

Cleaning your feeder is a must; you don’t want your birds feeding on contaminated and dirty food. You can clean your feeder daily. It would be best if you cleaned both the interior and exterior of your feeder; cleaning the exterior will prevent ants from visiting your feeder. 


Orioles, just like any other bird, mainly go to where they can feed properly. When migrating back after winter, they locate a good food source. Ants are threats to your bird feeders; they can contaminate the nectar, thus preventing orioles from coming back to feed. However, with the right precautions, as shown in this article, you can safeguard your feeders.

Ants can be a nuisance to oriole feeders; they can damage and destroy it. They can also contaminate the nectar and cause the Oriole to feed on the feeder.

No, the ecosystem is a great circle of the chain. All animals are a part of the food chain. Insects, which include ants, are a great source of protein for birds. Most birds feed on ants. Orioles are not an exception to this; ants are not unhealthy for orioles to feed on. However, orioles prefer to feed on other insects, especially the forest tent caterpillar moth.


Orioles, like other species of birds, are anteaters. However, they are not vivacious eaters of ants. They prefer sweet foods like nectar or water mixed with sugar.

These birds, like other species, are colorful and make for an interesting watch. These tips should help you in taking care of these colorful friends of yours.

Author Profile

Gabriel Tackett
Double major in Engineering and Geology at the University of Minnesota. Experienced shooter & hunter for over 15 years. Certified NRA officer for over 10 years working as a writer at Ballachy.com .

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