Saturday, January 29, 2011

January Bluebird Visitor

Spring is coming! Spring is coming!

This male Eastern Bluebird’s almost phosphorescent feathers signal that it soon will be time to stake out and defend his territory for the 2011 mating season.

Bluebirds visits us throughout the winter, and this one checked out our bluebird houses on Friday morning, to make sure, I suppose, other birds haven’t tried to take them over.

What do bluebirds eat in winter, when the ground is snow covered and they must find it next to impossible to find insects and other invertebrates that make up two-thirds of their diet? The answer: fruit, including dogwood drupes, wild grape and sumac seeds, and blackberry, honeysuckle, Virginia creeper, cedar, and poke berries or seeds.

Some friends of birds put mealworms out as wintertime treats, something I’ve been meaning to check into for years.


  1. If you are interested in purchasing mealworms, here is a website to check out buying them: or call them at 1-800-318-611. I have used this company and they are cheaper to buy them here than at a bird store.

    When you order the mealworms, they come in newspaper. Gently shake the newspaper over a bucket. From the bucket you can empty the worms into a rectangular Ziplock container. Fill the Ziplock container with about an inch or so of wheat germ. (Mealworms feed on wheat germ. Ratio--1" of bran to 1,000 worms.) Then take a nail and punch quite a few holes in the lid for air. Then, place them in the refrigerator.

    When you initially put the worms in the refrigerator, put a few carrot slices in with them for moisture. As long as the worms are in the frig, they are not active and won't eat the slices. The worms are going to need moisture, so once a week take the worms out of the refrigerator and add a few carrots. Leave them out for a few hours, then remove the carrots and put them back into the frig.

    Have fun!

  2. Oh, I love, love, LOVE the bluebirds! One sits on the corner of my house eave every day, mid afternoons, when I'm usually looking out the window for inspiration, with my laptop humming, while I work on writing or revising a book. The bluebird looks down at me, as if to say, "What are you up to today, five-foot-four?" And he chuckles. Oh, yeah. He does.

  3. WV J: How many mealworms to you order at a time? And how do you offer them to your bluebirds--in something flat, like an aluminum pie plate--or a fancy bluebird/mealwork feeding station--or what? Lots of birds like insects, so are you choosey about who dines on your mealworms? And have you ever tried the dried, rather than live, mealworms? Hey, I think you've hooked me--perhaps for next winter. Share your wisdom, please!

  4. Gladys: Amazing--our bluebirds like to sit on the corners of the house too. Unfortunately, that doesn't get them a good view of me working at my computer. But I suspect it gives them a panoramic view of potential food sources. I haven't noticed other species consistently sitting on the roof corners, though a mockingbird often sits on our neighbor's chimney.

  5. I only ordered one time and I believe I ordered 3,000 Lg which are $24.00. Of course you can order smaller quantities...1,000 or 2,000 and in different sizes. I have a Vista Dome Feeder for my bluebirds. The dome can be lowered up and down. If you don't want the larger birds feeding on the worms, you just lower the dome so they can't get in. I can't be choosy who feeds as the tufted titmouse can get in too. It's like all the other's a free for all for whoever can get it! No, I haven't tried the dried ones. You should try this Spring! Suppose to feed them in the early morning at the same time each day so they will get use to coming when you put the worms out. They say to clap so the bluebirds will know it's feeding time and will get use to that sound and know to come. Have fun!