May 30, 2022 at 8:42 am #25139DaveParticipant
Not sure if it’s been discussed before but was wanting to get some opinions on feeding the birds mealworms in the summer when it’s nice out. Don’t do it, don’t do it, it’s ok daily in morning evening?? I did it just in morning for a few days straight but then I’m a little worried I’ll get them too used to it if that makes sense. And they will be counting on it, which doesn’t seem right. I also feel a little guilty when I don’t give them some. And it’s never a lot, maybe like 30 or so. Just wanted to get some thoughts.
Side question. How long often do they come to box to feed? First brood about 9th day.
Thanks!!May 30, 2022 at 1:49 pm #25864
Feeding mealworms is not a necessary thing to do – it is just fun that you can watch then in action and definitely helps parents feed several babies, especially like mine right now – I have 3 juveniles feeding on the worms, plus the two parents and they are feeding 5 babies, so it does help them out. But I cannot stress enough the importance of not overfeeding them worms – these birds are not pets – they are a wild bird and must learn how to catch other natural bugs, etc. Just like this weekend, we were gone for two days, and I wasn’t concerned about the babies not having worms because the parents know how to hunt and bring them bugs, etc. Sounds like you have enough common sense to know not to feed too many worms for too long.
P.S. Most BB parents will eventually run off their young ones (fledged birds which are big enough to take care of themselves) so they can concentrate on their new babies – but all birds are different – never know what they will do!May 30, 2022 at 8:07 pm #25869tamseaModerator
I like to help them fed the babies so I continue a little. And it’s fun when they parents bring the babies back.
TammyMay 31, 2022 at 11:14 am #25875David in Stafford,VAParticipant
I agree with Carol and Tammy on the feeding of mealworms. It is a “supplement” not substitution for their natural feeding. I try to feed mine in the morning around 7:30 – 9:00 AM and again in the afternoon between 4:00 and 5:30. Sometimes, depending on my schedule with the grandkids, I may miss a feeding so they are used to being on their own for food. I have even noticed this year that they do not clear to bowl of the mealworms, so I have reduced the number of mealworms to about 30-40. This is with them feeding 5 young. They must have a good supply of food somewhere. I have noticed them at my seed feeders regularly. I am not sure whether the are feeding the seeds to the young though. Has anyone else had this experience?
Stafford, VAMay 31, 2022 at 12:19 pm #25880
Glad we have your opinion on feeding the worms, David, even though I know you are raising them. We were gone a couple of days over the Memorial Day holiday and I was not able to feed the worms but I knew that the blues would be okay (I have 5 week-old babies still in the nestbox) because parents have been hunting on their own after eating the few worms I put out. I do exactly as you do about the timing – feed in early morning and around supper time (5-6 pm) – right now I am feeding 3 juveniles, 2 parents and 5 babies in the box, so I adjust the worms as appropriate.
I don’t believe the parent blues would be feeding seeds to the babies, but I don’t know -always thought they only feed the babies soft bugs, etc. I have really never even had them eat at my seed feeder (in the wintertime) – they love that peanut butter suet I give though.May 31, 2022 at 10:19 pm #25882JulieParticipant
Carol, what kind of feeder do you use for the peanut butter suet? I have several suet feeders out, but never see the blues at them in winter. Maybe I don’t have the right kind?June 1, 2022 at 9:17 am #25885
Julie, I use the same cage feeder I use for the mealworms – just substitute the suet. I usually begin feeding suet around early October – the birds will balk at first because they don’t have worms, but in a week or so they finally get the message – no more worms. The suet recipe I use (from Cher) is a good one – has the things needed to keep them healthy for winter. P.S. all the winter birds love the suet also (juncos, white crowned sparrows, and of course HOSP – I just shoo them away best I can)June 2, 2022 at 2:28 am #25893DanaParticipant
Its also a good idea if you’re feeding them mealworms to sprinkle them with some calcium carbonate since the mealworms are calcium depleting. I feed my “blues” dried mealworms. I place the mealworms in a ziplock bag and sprinkle some calcium carbonate over them. Then I shake it up so that it coats the mealworms. Don’t use too much, just enough to lightly coat them. Then I add them to the feeder. I put out only enough for the bluebirds to eat from time to time especially when it rains for days and insects are hard to find and there’s baby “blues” in the nest.
DanaJune 3, 2022 at 8:56 pm #25911David in Stafford,VAParticipant
I thought that it was strange that the bluebirds would be at the seed feeders but they are regulars, along with the wood peckers, gold and house finches, cardinals, doves, tree and song sparrows, wrens and a few others from time to time – but no house sparrows. I use the bird seed from Wild Birds Unlimited that has the shelled sunflower and safflower seeds with dried berries mixed with a premium seed that I get from Walmart that has some sunflower seeds, fruit and nuts, but non of the millet, rape seed and corn that are in the other brands. I have read that the BBs do eat seeds and dried berries but did not notice it until this winter when they came to the feeders.
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