What foods attract your bluebirds best?

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  • #952
    lexilu
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    I usually feed mealworms and suet dough. I have tried for years to get the bluebirds to eat other foods with no luck. I found a seed cylinder by Mr Bird that they have gone crazy over. I will try to post a photo.

    Blues love the new seed cake.

    Lexi
    Virginia

    #953
    dogsandbirds
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    They could be after the hulled sunflower. I have had them eat plenty of that. Like you, mine usually like mealworms and suet mix. They don’t need a whole lot of other offerings most of the year since insects are around most of the time. In high summer they can find plenty of berries to supplement the insect part of their diet.

    BTW, fun picture!

    Gin
    Atlanta, GA

    #954
    lexilu
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    I feed an array of different seeds. One feeder is shelled sunflower and they would never eat at it. After this seed cake, one male is now on the shelled sunflower feeder every day. The Blue Jays were devouring the cake, so I had to buy a special feeder for the seed cylinder. They love it so much they are ignoring the live mealworms, which has never happened before. They use to sit on my window feeder and basically beg when the mealworms were gone, until I came outside and put more in.
    Bluebird Feeding Frenzy

    Lexi
    Virginia

    #956
    Carol – Mid-Mo.
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    Lexi, fun video and nice picture. I feed live mealworms from about mid-March through early/mid November & then switch to peanut butter suet (homemade & cheap) at that time. The blues will pout for a while because they aren’t getting worms, but once they understand they aren’t getting the live worms, they begin to LOVE the suet, especially in our cold Mid-Missouri weather. I do think it is important to remember that human intervention in the feeding of wild birds is basically for our own enjoyment, and then secondly to help them out when nesting season comes & get through the winter. Our feeding is just like giving candy to a child, in other words, a treat – not as a main diet. They need to find food on their own. P.S. I do have a seed (BOSS) feeder in my back yard, apart from my caged suet feeder. We have lots of cardinals, juncos, white-crowned sparrows, finches, doves, and of course, those pesky HOSP at this feeder. I have NEVER seen my blues at this seeder. Good luck this season.

    #960
    cidermill
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    I’ve been feeding crumbled suet and mealworms for several years with great luck. Zero luck with any other types of seeds, fruits, etc. I keep crumbled suet on the “main floor” of this feeder with mealworms in the upper “loft” trays that two of the bluebirds are on.

    bluebirds five<script async src=”//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>

    Carolyn
    New Hampshire

    #961
    tamsea
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    Mine only eat live mealworms. Nice photo, Carolyn and Lexi.

    Tammy

    #966
    cidermill
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    Thanks, Tammy. I haven’t tried live mealworms yet, but plan to this year as we have put up our first nesting box (one of Fred’s). The bb’s have been “working” on it all winter long. They clearly didn’t appreciate the 1″ of pine shavings I put in the bottom to keep them warm in the event they used it for roosting. Took them quite awhile, but they finally removed all of it – ha! I’ll be watching the board for suggestions on feeding live mealworms. Thanks!

    Carolyn
    New Hampshire

    #969
    tamsea
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    So funny about them removing the pine shavings!! Just a thought…if yours are eating dried mealworms why change to live ones? I’m afraid they won’t go back to the dried ones and live ones are more work. I wish mine would eat dried….but they know they can get the good stuff if they hold out. :(

    Tammy

    #970
    cidermill
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    That is really good advice, thank you!! The only reason I was considering the switch was for any potential nestlings – thinking the live ones might be a tad healthier for them? But if it’s even close to being a draw, then I will definitely stick to dried as they chow them down heavily and I wouldn’t want to ruin that. We do have a lot of earthworms in the grass, so maybe that will suffice. Thanks so much for the input (I wasn’t relishing handling live ones… ;)

    Carolyn
    New Hampshire

    #975
    dogsandbirds
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    Carolyn, there may indeed be tons of earthworms out there but they are never fed to nestlings except in very dire circumstances. Earthworms make nestlings very sick and can kill them.

    Go ahead and stick with dried mealworms. If yours love them there is no reason to switch. Just remember not to give them out with a heavy hand. Too many are calcium depleting and they do need a healthy dose of natural food everyday.

    Gin
    Atlanta, GA

    #978
    cidermill
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    More excellent feedback, thanks! I didn’t know that earthworms weren’t fed to nestlings. Never having had a nesting box before, there is much to be learned. Thank you!

    Carolyn
    New Hampshire

    #982
    ReneeinWinslow
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    They loved mealworms the best of course but those were getting too expensive. In years past I had them trained so they would come to the feeder during the winter for peanut butter suet.

    When The New Wears Off The Old Shines Through.

    #984
    Carol – Mid-Mo.
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    Carolyn, you are getting excellent advise here, especially what Gin mentioned about the earth worms not being good for nestlings & never seen an adult even eat any. Also to not overfeed the worms to them, more like a treat. A second to the idea if your blues are eating the dried worms, stick with them. The live are not anything to handle (I just use a plastic spoon or fork) but they are more expenses (I think??) but they must be refrigerated. Unfortunately, since I have had the same generations of blues since I began 9 seasons ago, they don’t know anything but live worms, which is what they like best.

    #986
    cidermill
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    And more great info, thank you!! I’m so glad I found this forum!!😀

    Carolyn
    New Hampshire

    #987
    cidermill
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    A thought to add to Gin and Carol’s caution to not over-feed meal worms. I had read that warning a number of years ago and have since always offered mealworms alongside crumbled-up suet. The first year that I did feeding, I had suet cakes in hangers which the then-rare bluebird ate a small amount of; I didn’t offer mealworms at that time. I researched online and found a suggestion to crumble the suet for them, and have done that ever since with great success. I do a lot of observing of them as the feeder area is easily viewed from my living room window and I have found that the bluebirds seem to self-regulate themselves between the suet and the mealworms. That observation is reinforced when re-filling the feeders as one day I’ll need to re-fill more of the suet; the next day it might be the mealworms. I just spent about 15 minutes now watching them and they were going for the suet over the mealworms. Additionally, we have many bushes with winter berries on them that they also eat as their mood strikes them. I do very much heed to the over-feeding of mealworms, but I’m wondering if my own observations of them self-regulating, as long as the human provides variety, holds true.Of course that may be the case only when using dried mealworms as I understand from all who have commented on these boards and elsewhere that they go completely bonkers over live mealworms!

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 7 months ago by cidermill.

    Carolyn
    New Hampshire

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