Many birds—not only orioles and bluebirds—enjoy mealworms and will benefit throughout the year from the protein, fat and fiber they provide.
Mealworms are actually the larval form of the mealworm beetle, also known as the darkling beetle. They are not slimy but rather easy to work with. Serving mealworms will aid your birds throughout the winter cold and into spring reproduction and summer nestling and fledgling feeding.
Birds attracted to mealworms—in the winter and throughout the year—include cardinals, nuthatches, chickadees and woodpeckers. During Minnesota’s spring and summer, mealworms also benefit Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, orioles, bluebirds and Scarlet Tanagers.
Since their movement attracts attention, birds seem to prefer live mealworms. Live mealworms should be served in a smooth-sided cup or container with 1-2″ high sides. Live mealworms need to be stored in the refrigerator. Using a window feeder brings the birds up close for excellent viewing!
Dried mealworms are very versatile and never spoil. They can be mixed right in with your birdseed in a hopper, tray, tube or dish-style feeder. Sprinkle dried mealworms with olive oil for extra nutrition. In the spring and summer, soaking the dried mealworms in nectar and serving them in a dish feeder attracts orioles.
Best Mealworm Products
1. EASY MEALWORM FEEDING
For really easy dried mealworm feeding, select a suet cake, seed cake, bell or seed cylinder that includes dried mealworms within the product. Shown: Mealworm and Peanut suet cake by Pacific Bird and Co.
2. DROLL YANKEES: BO’S MARMALADE FEEDER
Great for offering treats to orioles and more. The cup is easily removable for cleaning and is made of durable polycarbonate. Use this feeder to offer grape jelly, an orange half, or mealworms to a variety of birds.
3. HANGING ORIOLE FLOWER FEEDER
With perching areas shaped like the petals of a flower, this oriole feeder provides pegs for orange halves and an orange plastic bowl for serving grape jelly, live mealworms, or dried mealworms soaked in nectar.
Article by Minnetonka Manager CAROL CHENAULT
Reprinted from the September/October 2019 Bird’s-Eye View Newsletter