Feeding Bluebirds with Mealworms

Find out why bluebirds might not be stopping to feed on the mealworms you're putting out and what you can do.

Feeding Bluebirds with Mealworms

Submitted by B&B user: Hummerva Eastern bluebirds will eat both live and dried mealworms. But feeding bluebirds isn’t always easy, so follow the expert tips below.

We hear from a lot of readers who are trying to feed mealworms to bluebirds or readers who want to lure bluebirds to their backyards with mealworms. And often the results are not always instantaneous and it can be frustrating. If that’s you, you’re not alone. Read Gloria’s question from our popular magazine column, Glad You Asked.

I have tried every method I can think of to feed dried mealworms to the bluebirds. What could I possibly be doing wrong?

Gloria Kirby Owasso, Oklahoma

Kenn and Kimberly: It could be the time of year. During seasons when natural food sources are abundant, many birds are less likely to take advantage of our offerings. You might try briefly offering live mealworms to garner their attention, then switch back to the dried worms once they know the drill. Another trick that can make dried worms more appealing is to soak them in lukewarm water before you put them out.  It’s also important to note that mealworms do not provide complete nutrition and should only be used as a supplemental food source, offered on a limited basis. Overfeeding can cause health issues for adults and young!

This question was in the Glad You Asked department of our April/May issue. Our bird experts, Kenn and Kimberly Kaufman, answer reader questions like this one in every issue. Don’t miss out on expert advice! Subscribe today.

Find out more about feeding bluebirds and how to attract them to your backyard with these simple tips. 

  1. Carol says

    I discovered bluebirds also like peanut butter suet. They pass over my mealworms and go to the suet. My homemade recipe is peanut butter and shortening in equal amounts melted on stove. Then I add flour to the consistency of hard fudge and pour into small containers. Break apart into fine pieces for them to eat. They are now coming on the porch and looking into the kitchen window to ask for more. Very easy to do. Hope it helps. I have a family of 5 that have come for several years now.

  2. Marty says

    Thank you for that recipe – we love bluebirds!
    By saying to break it apart, it will be solid so do you mean to shave it? Or maybe ‘chop it’ into fine pieces? Thanks again!

  3. Dorothy says

    I live in N/E Ohio and have been watching for the bluebirds since the 1st of March. They were here around the 7th last year. I haven’t seen a one. Maybe it’s the weather. I fed them live mealworms all last summer. I hope they are going to return.

  4. Mike says

    I feed sunflower hearts and live mealworms year through the winter. They would come eat when I whistle or saw me tend the feeders. I almost had them eating the worms out of my hand. Up to 13 bluebirds during the snow. A family of five has been here all winter. Bluebirds love the sunflower hearts too. They will bring their babies to eat when old enough. I use a cleaned plastic meat tray from the grocery with a rock in it to keep it from blowing away. The live mealworms can’t climb out. Right now the breeding season is in full swing with jealous mates and all.

  5. Debi says

    I have tried several times feeding with dried mealworms with no success…tried lots of things!! Our bluebirds stay all year long here in South Alabama so I guess they have an abundance of fresh bugs so they aren’t attracted at all to the dried ones!!! Even this winter and we had some harsh temps – several nights at 14 and one day the temperature didn’t get above 22 for about 36 hours – almost UNHEARD of here – the bluebirds were still in the yard managing to find things to eat. They are beautiful…we have 5 or 6 bluebird houses scattered around our property and all are occupied every year and have multiple babies throughout the warmer weather. LOVE to watch them!

  6. Bonnie says

    We have a pair of bluebirds who seem to come back every year. They look forward to the dried mealworms so much so that if I haven’t put some out in the morning, the male will hit his feet against my kitchen window for attention. Then after several knocks, he sits on the window ledge and looks in until I come out. The family had its first group of babies who are nearly ready to fledge.

  7. Juls says

    I had 6 bluebirds arrive late Feb. They were all over the dried mealworms! One pair stayed, built in a house facing the feeder. raised 5 babies and now have 4 more, in same nest [after I cleaned it] the male has disappeared this week, so I assume a predetor got him [boohoo] poor mom is busy catching bugs and running to the feeder. I have a fight to keep the squirrels out of it though!

Add a Comment

Want more garden tips for your backyard?

Get ideas and advice for a beautiful landscape with our free Gardening newsletter!

Enter your email address: