April 16, 2022 at 1:27 pm #24082
Hi, I have my first ever clutch of bluebirds and they’re due to hatch any day now! I already have dried mealworm feeders, but got some live ones that Mama and Papa can feed to the nestlings. When I put them out, Mama and Papa don’t seem to notice them (although Mr and Mrs Cardinal have found them with no trouble). I’ve tried putting them out in a glass bowl and also on a paper plate on a ledge below the dried mealworm feeder and also on a ledge below the birdhouse but they just don’t see them. I have a hanging feeder coming and will try hanging it and putting the live mealworms in there. If I put the hanging feeder next to the birdhouse that may attract the cardinals close to the birdhouse which the bluebirds probably would not be happy about. How do I get the bluebirds to see the mealworms?
LisaApril 16, 2022 at 1:48 pm #24083
Lisa, congrats on your bluebird eggs which are due to hatch soon. All I can say is keep trying – once they find the live worms they will probably have no use for the dried ones. It is mainly mind over matter – yes, those cardinals will eat them up if they are not in a cage feeder where they cannot get in. A glass bowl is good, but not a paper plate as the worms will wiggle out anything not slippery. My newborn blues (almost a week old) are getting a few worms taken to them by the parents, but I don’t feed them all they want, as I am a true believer that they need the natural food (bugs, etc.) and then a few worms to tide them over. My worms are in a glass bowl inside of a cage-style feeder where larger birds cannot get in. P.S. This is really a time-consuming thing, trying to get the blues to find the worms and keeping others out. I am staring outside my kitchen window A LOT watching their actions. Good luck and keep us informed. P.S. The parents will not begin feeding the worms to the babies until they are 2 or 3 days old at least. Parents will find bugs, etc. for them most of the time. Worms are helpful, but are considered a treat. In my 15 years of bluebirding this is what I have learned – but all areas are different.
April 16, 2022 at 6:20 pm #24085
- This reply was modified 1 year, 7 months ago by Carol - Mid-Mo..
Thank you Carol! A few more questions if I may– I looked at the TMB cage feeder, it’s expensive but I guess will need to go ahead and spring for it. Will Mama and Papa know not to feed the babies my dried mealworms (I read they’re not good for babies), or should I take those feeders down when the babies hatch? Also how many live mealworms do you recommend putting out each day for Mama and Papa and four babies? And I read new babies may have trouble eating large mealworms, so should I get small/medium ones?
I’ll try to post pics here when they hatch if I can figure out how to do that.
Thanks for helping this bluebird newbie! They have really helped my frame of mind this Spring with the pandemic etc.
April 16, 2022 at 9:05 pm #24087
- This reply was modified 1 year, 7 months ago by Lisa.
Lisa, I know exactly what you mean about having a positive thing to do during this pandemic, etc. It has saved a lot of people from having severe mental problems I believe.
Okay, on the live mealworms, yes, the cage feeder is expensive but I believe it would be worth the expense and they probably last years (my husband was a welder and made my cage feeder with the 1/2″ distance for spindles, etc. I have had it probably since I began bluebirding.) about the parents knowing about not feeding the dried worms to the babies, I believe you would have no problem there as when there are live worms available they are going to use them. But since I have never used dried worms, I really can’t tell you for sure, but I would not have them available as the parents may get confused and yes, babies SHOULD NOT be fed dried worms – they are not nutritious enough for babies. The parents will not feed the worms until they are 2 or 3 days old from my experience – they will hunt and get bugs, etc. for them. I believe the recommended number of worms (for when the babies get larger) is 10 worms per bird two times a day (morning and late afternoon). I sure don’t count and don’t panic if I can’t always do this because of being out of town or something, but that is the general number from all information available. After the birds fledge (leave the nest) the parents will take them off site for about 10 days or so to learn how to hunt and then bring them back to the feeder – this is when the l0 worms per bird two times a day will be helpful. Please don’t overfeed them, however, – they need the bugs, etc. for other nutrition – worms are just a “dessert”. P.S. the website which is my (and most people here) bible for bluebirding is http://www.sialis.org Check on it.April 17, 2022 at 9:20 am #24092
Thanks again! I’ll check out that website.April 18, 2022 at 4:52 pm #24101David in Stafford,VAParticipant
Lisa, Carol is right about the feeding of mealworms to the new ones. I do not use dried worms at all. I raise mealworms for my birds and use the TMB cage feeder. I started mine to use the feeder by taking the bowl out of the feeder and using a copper wire holder to hold the glass bowl from the feeder with some mealworms. It did not take the bluebirds very long to start using the bowl. Then I put the bowl with mealworms into the cage with the top left open and let them get accustomed to the cage for about a week. When they accepted the cage, then I closed the top. It took a few try’s of fluttering around the cage before they hopped into the openings and onto the bowl for the worms. Have a little patience, they will find it and be happy that you are feeding them. You will have to watch if you have wrens and tufted titmice in the area. They are able to get into the cage and they also like the live mealworms.
Stafford, VAApril 20, 2022 at 2:14 pm #24140
This is great info David, very helpful. I just got the cage feeder and hung it up, will be trying the steps you outlined and then taking the dried mealworms down soon. Not sure if I want to raise mealworms but will buy them in spring/summer. You and Carol have been so informative and as a bluebird newbie I appreciate it. We do have titmice and Carolina wrens coming by at times, but at least I can keep the Cardinals out of the live worms!April 21, 2022 at 8:17 am #24150
Lisa, glad you got your feeder and believe you will like it but it does take some time for some blues to get acquainted with it. I can absolutely guarantee that when you put a few forms in the feeder and they find them, they will be hooked and be back every day.April 24, 2022 at 4:30 pm #24160
Thanks Carol. I’ll keep at it!
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