Beautiful Baltimore orioles seems to be falling in love with the state of South Carolina in record numbers. Now bird experts have an interesting theory about why it might be happening.
The Baltimore oriole is most associated with the state of Maryland where it is the official state bird and has a baseball team named after it. But in the past four years South Carolina has been drawing hundreds of the orange-and-black fliers to stay over during winter months.
Scientists speculate that rapidly changing climate patterns due to global warming are shifting the migration patterns of orioles. However, a more unusual theory is gaining traction among bird experts — and it involves grape jelly.
Backyard bird lovers know that putting out grape jelly is a sure way to attract Baltimore orioles to feeders. In recent years there has been a significant increase in the number of people deploying the grape jelly tactic.
Scientists say the birds may have caught on. Baltimore orioles have discovered that if they want a plentiful supply of one of their favorite treats, South Carolina is the place to be. The people of the Palmetto State are putting out so much jelly that bird experts speculate it is preventing more orioles from migrating to the tropics for the winter.
Why make all that effort to flying hundreds of miles south when the weather stays warmer now in South Carolina year-round? It’s an added bonus that there’s also an abundant supply of yummy jelly to snack on.
The average temperature in the state’s Lowcountry is now more than 51 degrees Fahrenheit. In 1985 it was about 48 degrees. That means winter months that are milder and tolerable for orioles, which generally migrate to Florida or cross the Gulf of Mexico to flee the winter cold.