do bluebirds eat from bird feeders

Online sources for meal worms:


Natures Way


The Critter Depot

Scrambled Eggs

Tray feeders are good for bluebirdsAs previously stated, under severe conditions of cold and wet weather, bluebirds can be fed scrambled eggs. They will readily accept them and feed them to their young. Kurt Hagemeister of the Michigan Bluebird Society reports that this tactic saved a nest of young bluebirds several years ago in his yard. The eggs should be cooked as normal, scrambled, let cool, and then put out in a tray type of birdfeeder not far from the nest. If the birds dont eat them within a day or two, remove them from the area so they dont go bad or attract unwanted predators.


Bluebirds will sometimes feed on suet. Since insects are plentiful in the summer, Bluebirds feeding on suetit will be difficult to get them to eat suet at that time of year. But as the weather gets cold and insects are scarce or non-existent, they will really eat up the nutritious and energy-filled suet that you provide for them. Commercially made suet cakes are easy and relatively inexpensive. Cakes with hulled sunflower, peanut bits, raisins, and ground up corn meal are very good.

Here’s a fantastic recipe to help you draw in bluebirds:

Bluebird Suet Recipe

1/3 cup sugar, 1 cup whole wheat flour, 2 cups oatmeal, 2 cups cornmeal, and ½ cup raisins are combined with 1 cup lard and 1 cup crunchy peanut butter.

Put raisins in sauce pan and add water to cover. Boil; then take the pan off the heat and allow the raisins to cool. Drain water and cut raisins in half. Set aside.

Combine the flour, oats, and cornmeal in a sizable mixing bowl.

Melt the sugar, peanut butter, and lard in a small sauce pan over low heat. Pour liquid mixture into dry ingredients and mix well. Add raisins.

Seed And Other Foods

You can give Bluebirds sunflower hearts, softened raisins, blueberries, and currants during the colder months. Keep in mind that bluebirds only consume these other foods in the worst of circumstances. This usually happens in the late winter or early spring, when it’s still quite cold outside and there aren’t enough natural foods available. If not, they’ll keep eating primarily fruits they can find and wild berries. The ideal places for it are in open tray feeders or specialty feeders that allow the bluebirds to enter through openings at both ends.

The Jail Bluebird Feeder

A very good type of feeder is the Bluebird Jail feeder. This feeder (pictured at the right), was designed to exclude larger birds, such as Robins and Starlings, from getting at the jailfeedermealworms or other food, before the Bluebirds can get it. The feeder is enclosed (which shelters the mealworms/food) with a dish in the middle for the food. The birds can either enter through the 1 1/2″ diameter entrance holes on the ends or in between the wooden dowel “bars”. Unlike some Bluebird feeders that have Plexiglass instead of the bars, the jail feeder is more open and makes it easier for the birds to get to the food. The trick to getting Bluebirds to start using the feeder is to leave the top open (and even remove the bars) temporarily until the birds “figure out” that there is food in there. Once they start coming regularly, replace the bars and close the top of the feeder. They should start entering through the ends or between the bars.

The Gilbertson Bluebird Feeder

This feeder is another variation of the Jail Feeder shown above. It is also designed mainly to limit the size of birds that can get to the mealworms or other food to Bluebird-sized birds or smaller. So, again, Starlings and Robins will not be able to access the feeding area.GilbFeeder1

The Gilbertson feeder was designed by Steve Gilbertson of Minnesota. This feeder is incredibly easy to assemble, even for those with only rudimentary woodworking knowledge. It is primarily composed of 2×4, 1×10, and 2×2 cedar. Additionally, there are a few short horizontally installed lengths of metal rod with a 1/8″ diameter. Most hardware stores and home centers carry this.

To get to the feeding area container, one of the bars can be removed. The idea is to use an old tuna fish can made of aluminum or tin. For this use, a tiny glass dish can also be purchased. To download the plans for this feeder design, click below.

Bluebirds and Meal Worms

Check out this amazing video to see the bluebirds’ attraction to mealworms.


to increase the Eastern Bluebird’s success rate in nesting

We firmly support inclusion, equity, and diversity for all people, regardless of their age, gender, sexual orientation, race, or disability. We strive to welcome and engage with ALL. – the Michigan Bluebird Society.

MBS Does Bluebird Programs

Get in touch with MBS to arrange a day and time if you would like someone to present an engaging program on bluebirds for your group. We can speak to garden clubs, schools, civic associations, and nature groups, among others. in most areas of the state. Visit our Contact Us page and send an email to your county’s coordinator. If your county does not have one, get in touch with MBS President Kurt Hagemeister.

Ø Some individuals use the technique of whistling while presenting the worms. Bluebirds, like Pavlov’s dogs, will focus on the sound and associate it with the treat that is about to be given to them. I have no doubt that the Bluebirds we used to feed behind the store one year grew accustomed to my truck’s morning arrival both in terms of sound and sight. They would land on perches waiting for me to enter the store and bring out worms as soon as I got out of the truck.

Perhaps you saw our video, which we re-posted below, of the three dashing male Bluebirds on our loading dock devouring mealworms that we posted last week. If not, check it out in last week’s blog post, “Get Ready For Bluebirds,” and check out our YouTube channel for more videos. And now you are interested in getting started. Feeding Eastern Bluebirds can be a little challenging because their primary food sources are insects and berries. With our extensive experience feeding bluebirds, we would like to share our best practices with you in order to increase your chances of success.

Offering Bluebirds their preferred food, such as live mealworms, is best initiated when they start exploring a nest-box. Choosing the right kind of feeder is actually not that crucial. I use a small clay dish that is set on a big rock that is about ten feet away from the nest-box and is visible. Platform type feeders tend to work very well. We can show you several Bluebird feeder types we stock.

At The Wood Thrush Shop, we would never advise using mealworms to draw in bluebirds. Mealworms are really the second part of the equation. It is always advised to use nesting boxes to first draw in bluebirds. Feeding them then becomes a lot easier. The reason for this is that bluebirds’ natural food sources are practically everywhere they go. Nest-boxes are not. During the breeding season, when nest boxes are most important, they will visit your yard more frequently and consistently, and for several months.

I bring the mealworms home when I notice the first indications that the bluebirds are interested in the nest-box. I then wait for the first chance to go outside to the feeder and offer a small quantity of worms—perhaps a dozen—to the birds. The crucial aspect is that I ensure the Bluebirds are present to witness my offering. Over the many years I’ve done this, I have mostly experienced instant success. They take off straight for the plate and devour them. I’ll play this short scene over the course of a few days or a week, each time the chance presents itself. Usually, it takes the Bluebirds three or four tries to figure out what you are doing. Don’t leave the mealworms there if they fly away during that initial offering. The longer the worms remain there, the more likely it is that a Mockingbird or Robin will spot them. It will then be nearly impossible to feed the Bluebirds if they discover this offering. Thus, don’t make many offers until the Bluebirds really take off. Then, as they raise their young, you can increase the quantity of mealworms offered. They will soon be anticipating your arrival, or as I’ve previously encountered, actively seeking you out in your yard.


What type of feeder do bluebirds prefer?

When Bluebirds begin checking out a nest-box that is the best time to begin offering the kind of food they prefer, like live mealworms. The type of feeder to use is really not very important. I use a small clay dish which is placed on a large rock easily seen from the nest-box, maybe 10 feet away.

Do bluebirds eat birdseed?

Bluebirds are distinct from other species in not just appearance, but also eating habits. Bluebirds are mostly insect feeders and often don’t use typical seed feeders that many bird watchers place in their yard. Bluebirds prefer to eat insects like crickets, grasshoppers, insect larvae, and occasionally berries.

What is a bluebirds favorite food?

1. Sunflower seeds: Sunflower seeds are a favorite food of bluebirds and can be offered in a variety of forms, including whole, shelled, or as part of a seed mix. 2. Mealworms: Bluebirds are also attracted to live or freeze-dried mealworms, which are high in protein and can be a valuable food source for them.