The Mealworm Feeder New Year’s Resolution
Soooo guilty as charged below, ours gets stocked twice per day! Spoiled, spoiled birds- really isn’t the best scenario for them, it’s out of selfishness for simply wanting to observe. One 2015 resolution… lay off that mealworm feeder while weather remains mild and until there’s some nestlings for mom and dad to raise. The logic’s well explained below.
“WAY too many people worry about buying mealworms by the thousands, spending WAY too much money and feeding them normally at a time of the year when a healthy bluebird should be able to find WAY more than enough natural foods. Johnny Appleseed planted apple trees that were still producing fruit for many decades after he was gone! There are dozens, if not hundreds of species of plants in most areas that will provide fruits and or berries that bluebirds will feed on at different times of the year. Many/most of these are hardy enough that anyone could become an amateur “Johnny Appleseed” planting for wildlife in their own area. Keith Kridler Mt. Pleasant, Texas”
Bet you thought there would be all kinds of newfangled mealworm and bluebird feeders here? Nope! Almost weird how this info was received on the heels of discovering an article on Houzz, which was titled “Feed the Birds: 6 Plants for Abundant Winter Berries” by Therese Ciesinski.
These shrubs and trees not only enhance the landscape (the pics were stunning) they’ll offer birds natural food sources for years to come. Listing them here and tucking the list in my wallet for the future jaunts to the nursery!
- Northern Bayberry
- Arrowood Viburnum
Looking back over 2014 and the small slice of heaven that is our habitat, it’s honestly helped to keep sane! A retreat, an escape, an unexplainable aspect of nature that calms, decompresses and relaxes the soul. A quote from Roger Tory Peterson sums it up pretty well: “The birds could very well live without us, but many-perhaps all-of us would find life incomplete, indeed almost intolerable without the birds.”
Wishing you and yours a happy and healthy 2015!
Confessions from the Mealworm Feeder
Addiction can be a terrible thing… and I fear that feeding worms has actually become one!
So the worms are meant for this guy, his spouse and kids. Okay, the chickadees can have some, the titmice can too because they have nestlings to feed. Brown headed nuthatches stick around their box long after babies have fledged, they’re too much and may need a permanent address? For the first time phoebe finally has a family (that I’ve actually seen anyway) so of course they must take turns at the mealworm feeder – may you grow strong and thrive little phoebes!
Cardinals won’t touch worms… until they have babies to feed. The catbirds are simply out of hand, wish they’d just stick to the grape jelly! Have you ever seen 20,000 meal worms in a plastic shoe box heading for dormancy in the fridge? It’s become the norm as live worms cost less when buying in bulk. The worms aren’t bad, but the overnight shipping can kill ya!
Using this open dish as one of the mealworm feeders is really just asking for it, but babies can’t figure out the enclosed bluebird feeders, or jail type ones with open grid cage. Carolina wrens certainly can, they’re always the first to figure out any new feeder containing mealies!
Screen feeders are nice and easy to use for humans and birds alike… but the worms crawl out! Anything with texture or tooth worms can grip allows cling and crawl action! No worries, anyone who drops to the ground meets their fate by a robin or thrasher just waiting below for the great escape!
So the addiction? The grower must think I eat worms myself, the quantity has now increased to 25,000 worms a pop… and this is every four weeks or so. And I wonder why I’m broke?
Bitter Morning’s Breakfast Menu with Extra Goods for the Mealworm Feeder!
The birdie menu was heavy with special treats today as frigid temperatures almost did my own hands in while feeding! Fingers actually stinging, they had to be warmed by the vent to feel them again. You may say ha… it’s Atlanta and not that bad… wanna bet?
A balmy 5 degrees right now, there’s no chance of leaving the mealworm feeder filled for dawn… the poor little mealies will freeze. That’s what happened last night 🙁
Actually, this is a pretty normal AM feeding, because if there’s too much food out, the nasty starlings hog it all, so daily rations are fed twice instead. Plus everything’s freezing right now.
Not an ad for Peter Pan either, this is absolutely the normal routine, (for the birdhouse chick anyway) just happen to snap a photo of it today.
So, what exactly does this backyard bird fanatic feed? From right to left, here goes:
- Finch mix, consisting of finely chopped sunflower and thistle. Lots of goldfinches, just not gold right now.
- Small cup of live worms for the new enclosed mealworn feeder… take that starlings! Carolina wrens are usually first to figure out these feeders.
- Large cup of cardinal mix for the platform feeder.
- Large cup of critter mix for the squirrels and a few other birds.
- Large cup of sunflower hearts/shelled peanut mix for platform feeder #2.
- Live worms for two hanging dish-style mealworm feeders. Meant for the bluebird pair and eastern phoebe, but many others partake.
- Sweet corn squirrel log, which is equal to about 12ears of regular corn cobs. These must be tightened up every few days as our crafty critters have managed to steal them from time to time!
- Small cup of bluebird banquet, suet-like mixture that’s easy to make. Check our site (under birding resources) for this recipe and more.
- Peanut butter, slapped right on tree bark is great for squirrels and birds. High in fat and protein, these extra calories provide energy needed to stay warm.
- Re-hydrated meal worms for yet another dish-style feeder. Boiling water added to dry worms , steep and drain.
- Bark Butter and suet slice for the woodpecker feeder.
- Note the heated bath behind the food, and the cord running across the yard for heated bath #2 of five. Too many feeders to show pics, let’s just say there’s a good mix!
Seriously… who would make up this stuff? We spend a lot of time fussing over our birds – but it’s so worth having them around. It was so cold today that the squirrels didn’t even venture out until late afternoon.
Say you have only one bird feeder, that’s perfect too, just remember the water! Birds need a fresh water source even in the coldest weather. As far as Mr. Arctic Mass, you are not welcome in the South, so please go home now!