If someone were to rummage through our recyclables, they would notice an inordinate number of empty grape jelly jars during the summer months. Do we have a sweet tooth? Yes.
Are we responsible for the consumption of these vast amounts of jelly? No.
So who is?
It’s actually several members belonging to our avian garden club who regularly frequent the buffet we set out for them. Bullock’s Orioles gladden our eyes with their brilliant orangeness for a few short months only, and in addition to insects and nectar, have a fondness for fruit that either shares their color, or is red or purple. Or for products made from said fruit, such as dark jellies. They have been regular visitors at our feeding stations ever since I heard of that preference a few years ago and started offering orange halves and spoonsful of grape jelly on a special attachment to the bird feeder pole. (As an aside, I enjoyed learning that both spoonsful and spoonfuls are possible plural forms of spoonful.)
Observation has taught me that the avian version of a sweet tooth (? sweet beak) is not limited to orioles, who have to share their fruity treats with American Robins and House Finches, as well as with Western Tanagers while they stop over during spring migration. Lately I have also watched juvenile chickadees embark on a culinary adventure by jumping on the jelly train. All this traffic in the buffet line occasionally leads to a bit of elbowing (or rather winging), but as best as I can tell, everyone who wants to partake usually succeeds. In contrast to a buffet for human visitors, the jelly does not get bottomless refills and is typically limited to two tablespoons twice a day.
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PS: If you happen to take issue with this post’s content, it’s only since I contemplated writing it that I have become aware of concerns about feeding birds high-fructose corn syrup, one of the ingredients in most—though not all—preparations of grape jelly. There is no evidence that it harms birds, but since it’s not part of their natural diet, I will, in the future, make an attempt to purchase jelly without that questionable food additive (which should be taken out of circulation in general, for everybody’s sake). As far as we know, sugar is not harmful either.