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nwyman
6th of January 2009 (Tue), 13:01
I;ve been buying the freeze-dried kind that are kept in the fridge for storage. I've seen the wrens eat them, occasionally, but they don't seem thrilled. And I'd love to attract some bluebirds, who used to nest here, but have passed us up for the past two years.
Anyway, yesterday I got some live mealworms at the feed store. They come packed in a little round plastic box and have mealworm flakes as a food source for them. Again, they are to be stored in the fridge.
I opened the box and was not impressed with the sight of the things. And now I can't figure out how to dole them out.
Does one put individual worms on the feeder (yuck!) or do you put them in some sort of container? I tried the first option, using four worms and they all squirmed off in different directions. I can't tell if anything ate them or not.

If you put them in a container of some sort, what do you do about the food that is in the storage box? It looks like flakes of some sort to me, but I have no idea what it is or if it is harmful to birds.

seaside
6th of January 2009 (Tue), 13:26
I fed mealworms to Bluebirds at my old house. Had lots of Bluebird houses and they became tolerant of me intruding in thier space. Got some awsome photo's too. I always used live mealworms and added oat bran to the container for food.
Always placed the mealworms in a small square wood platform that had a small edge to it. Only put them out when the birds were there and watching. They immediatly consumed them. Normally the material in the newly purchased mealworms is harmless to birds. It is probably is oat bran or something similar.

kenn3d
6th of January 2009 (Tue), 13:57
Hi Nancy,

We feed our Blues live worms (mealworms and waxworms) at least twice daily. We just place them in a shallow dish (meal and all)... The birds have no problem digging out the goodies, and in the cold weather the worms stay lively longer if they are covered in the meal.

Our Carolina Wrens love them also, and the Titmice and Nuthatches will take a worm or two sometimes as well. The Blues and Wrens are usually waiting for us when we bring out the worms and will empty a dish of 50 in mere minutes. :)
http://kenn3d.smugmug.com/photos/450122596_ABeY6-L.jpg

We buy our worms online (5000 at a time)... Getting them in the little pet store containers is just too expensive.
We've never tried the freeze-dried worms.

Sure hope you can attract your Bluebirds again. Do you have a nestbox mounted?

Best of luck to you...

Kenn

canonloader
6th of January 2009 (Tue), 15:09
HAHA, the wren wants a mealy. :)

seaside
6th of January 2009 (Tue), 15:28
Meal worms and wax worms are good for attracting other animals as well. We have a lot of Anole lizards here (Chameleons). They'll run down the deck rails and jump over a foot onto my hand to eat them. Visitors love to see this :)

canonloader
6th of January 2009 (Tue), 15:31
They'll run down the deck rails and jump over a foot onto my hand to eat them
And then become part of the food chain when a Blue Jay sees them. :lol:

seaside
6th of January 2009 (Tue), 15:37
And then become part of the food chain when a Blue Jay sees them. :lol:

OR MY CAT! I have to make sure she's locked up inside before feeding the lizards!

canonloader
6th of January 2009 (Tue), 15:56
They do have a really nice color to them. :)

nwyman
6th of January 2009 (Tue), 16:29
thanks for all the suggestions!
While I don't have anoles, I do get blue-tailed skinks in warmer weather.

The bluebird box that was here when we moved in was invaded by some kind of wood-drilling critter (I suspect some woodpeckers got to it). The previous owners (humans) had told me that their father in law had put it up and it had had occupants every year.
Needless to say, we had no luck with it what with the extra hole in the side. They had nailed it to an old tree and I couldn't get it off. It also didn't have any kind of cleanout possibilities.
Two years ago, I put one of those boughten bluebird houses next to the old nesting box. I had a swarm of blues come visiting in January of last year, but while they hopped in and out and seemed excited, no one took up residence.
Haven't seen any bluebirds at all this year (although they are sitting in wires about two miles down the road), but my granddaughter (aged 9) claims she saw two at the bird bath last week. She's pretty savvy, so maybe she saw what I missed.

Maybe the BlueJays are eating the few worms I've put out. We've had steady rain today, so better luck tomorrow!

seaside
6th of January 2009 (Tue), 18:34
While I don't have anoles, I do get blue-tailed skinks in warmer weather.


Not sure what kind they are but we have some very large skinks. They really go after the wax worms. Haven't tried the hand feeding thing (They're to big and a bit more agreesive looking) but they do seem to get very used to me after a while. I got them to come within a couple feet to eat. I'll have to see if they'll pose for me now.

Bluebirds will take to a nesting house better if there is somewhere they can perch and see the front of the nest. With the female inside the male will perch out front 10 to 50 feet away and keep an eye on things.

gymell
6th of January 2009 (Tue), 20:15
I've never had any luck with the freeze dried mealworms. Live mealworms take some getting used to. The food in the container is just bran, which won't hurt anybody. I first started out using a plastic fork to fish them out one by one. Then I just started doing it by hand. When the mealworms are fresh out of the fridge, they aren't so wiggly and it's really not bad. Put them in a shallow glass dish and they won't be able to escape.

Here's how I had my mealworm dish mounted in the summer. You can see the blue jay sitting on it. Orioles and chickadees also love mealworms and waxworms.

http://www.pbase.com/gymell/image/105603907/original.jpg

One thing I'd suggest for the safety of your bluebirds is to take the nest box off the tree. If anyone does nest where you currently have it, they will be vulnerable to predators. Put it on a pole or post with a baffle. Here's a photo of mine, which has had bluebirds and chickadees successfully nest with no problems (the hole reducer you see is for the chickadees).

http://www.pbase.com/gymell/image/95752927/original.jpg

badams
9th of January 2009 (Fri), 13:00
Nancy,

I'm like you, I don't want to touch those worms. My dad raises them, but I have yet to take any as I don't like the looks of them and really don't want them in the fridge. Just the sheer thought of them being in the house gives me the willies.

canonloader
9th of January 2009 (Fri), 13:24
Just the sheer thought of them being in the house gives me the willies.
You've probably eaten them. I have worked in several bakeries over the years, and there are mealworms and eggs in virtually all flour and milled grains. ;)

gymell
9th of January 2009 (Fri), 21:25
Mmm, extra protein! ;)