GARDEN KNOW HOW

Feeding Bluebirds

How to feed blue birds at Sensible Gardening and Living

Bluebirds do not require feeding, there is generally lots of food in nature and they have no problem feeding themselves. Feeding blue birds is however a lot of fun and can be helpful during particularly bad weather, or to help out a single parent feed his or her family. Best to stick to some sort of schedule once or twice a day, the birds like this and so will you.

Sensible Gardening and Living
Sensible Gardening and Living

What do blue birds eat? Mostly berries and insects. Their favorite berries are dogwood berries so if you can grow these it will be a bonus. You can pick the berries and use them throughout the winter if bluebirds stay with you during that season. Other berries bluebirds enjoy are holly, juniper, sumac, mountain ash, firethorn and hackberry. They will also make use of blueberries, blackberries, serviceberries, chokecherries and elderberries. Generally the berries are used mostly as a last choice food during the nesting season as the baby birds require the protein in insects. When cold weather arrives bluebirds depend on berries to take them through the fall and winter months. Most attracted to red berries they will also eat raisins,  currents and dried blueberries.

The insect of choice  is mealworms. If you don’t have a source for them you can buy mealworms. Mealworms for bluebirds can be purchased fresh or dried. You can provide almost any type of insect except earthworms and hairy caterpillars. Grasshoppers or crickets are fine as are wasp larvae and night flyers.

You can also feed with homemade or purchased bird puddings which are mixtures of cornmeal and fat. Blue bird food is really quite varied. Bluebirds will eat certain kinds of seeds and nuts. They enjoy a peanut feeder, you must however shell the peanuts for them. If you are feeling generous bluebirds love shelled pecans and walnuts and adore peanut butter.

Try feeding with homemade or purchased bird puddings made of cornmeal and fat. Cornmeal can be fed cooked as in corn bread or used in an uncooked pudding mixture. Mix cornmeal with peanut butter and lard. Add in peanuts, currents, raisins and a few tablespoons of crushed eggshells to provide calcium. About 1 part fat to 2 parts dry until you have a crumbly mixture.

Start feeding your bluebirds when they are nesting by placing a small dish of food underneath where the male perches. Put your food out at regular times and soon your bluebirds will be showing up for treat time. Keep your bluebird feeders away from your other bird feeders for best results, as bluebirds require their privacy.