Live foods are absolutely best for garden birds to feed their young. Lots of different species of birds love mealworms. House sparrows are often first to the tray, but you can expect robins, wrens, blackbirds and tits to be queuing up for their daily treat. Live food should be fed all year round. With our changing weather patterns, insects are often in short supply, so having a stock of live food in your fridge or garage (or shed) can be a life-saver for both parents and fledglings.
Why feed live mealworms?
Mealworms are a great all-year birdfood, as they are 48% crude protein and 40% fat, but they're most important during the spring and early summer when chicks are in the nest. Flightless chicks can't leave the nest to get a drink, so their only source of water is through the food their parents deliver. Seeds are dry, so live food, worms and insects, are by far the best food. Providing a ready supply of mealworms in your garden can make a huge difference to the survival rates of each nest and can save the adult birds huge amounts of time and energy in the hunt.
When should I feed live mealworms?
Live foods are very nutritious for a lot of bird species and you can feed all year round. However, there are two key times to feed live food:
1: Winter - Mealworms are particularly good for insectivorous birds at a time when they may be struggling to get worms etc. out of frozen ground. If you are persistent you may even be able to get robins to take mealworms from your hand!
2: The Breeding Season - When your garden birds have chicks in the nest mealworms are by far the best food.
How do I store mealworms?
Buy regularly rather than try to store your mealworms for weeks and weeks. However, they are sent in a breathable tub or bag, so you only need to keep them cool and they'll be all right for a week or so (fridge, shed or garage is perfect).
How do I feed my birds mealworms?
- To feed some mealworms, simply sieve off the bran and pop them into a steep-sided, shallow container.
- By the way, it may take a while for the birds to get used to them, but they will!
Which birds like mealworms?
Most garden birds like many different foods. Here's a quick guide to the birds that particularly enjoy live food. Please note this is not a complete list (and if you want to give your bats and hoggies a treat, mealworms are the key :)). And, in case you didn't know, they are your robins' absolute favourite food.
|- Blackbird||- Blackcap||- Blue tit||- Dunnock|
|- Great tit||- House sparrow||- Long-tailed tit||- Robin|
|- Song thrush||- Starling||- Wren|
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