There are many birds, such as waxwings, that have a frugivorous (strictly fruit-eating) diet. The only time they usually expand their diet to include insects is during the breeding season, when growing hatchlings require high amounts of protein for proper development. Others, such as orioles, show a marked preference for fruit but also eat significant quantities of other foods. All of these birds play an important role by spreading fruit seeds to distant areas either by caching food or distributing the seeds through their droppings.
Bird lovers often put out seed to lure birds in for a closer look (a practice discouraged during the summer in black bear country), but there is an equally effective magnet for some species, and that is fruit. (Due to the high sugar content, little nutrition and potential bacteria growth in jelly, it may be best to provide fruit over jelly.) Grapes often attract Northern Mockingbirds, Eastern Bluebirds, Cedar Waxwings, Gray Catbirds, Scarlet Tanagers, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, House Finches and American Robins. Raisins and currants (soaked in water overnight) appeal to Northern Mockingbirds, Gray Catbirds, Eastern Bluebirds, Cedar Waxwings and Eastern Towhees. Species that find orange halves hard to resist include Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Northern Mockingbirds, Brown Thrashers, Baltimore Orioles, Scarlet Tanagers, Gray Catbirds and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks. (Photo: Gray Catbird (left), female Red-bellied Woodpecker (middle) and female Baltimore Oriole (right) enjoying breakfast at The House On The Hill Bed & Breakfast, Greenfield, MA.)
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