Attracting Bluebirds With Mealworms, a Heated Birdbath and Humor

Four Bluebirds and a Cardinal

Four Bluebirds and a Cardinal (photo by dorothyadele)

 Cardinals (photo by dorothyadele)

Cardinals (photo by dorothyadele)

Bluebirds and Cardinal (photo by dorothyadele)

Bluebirds and Cardinal (photo by dorothyadele)


During spring and summer, bluebirds hatch regularly in birdhouses in my neighbor’s yard, who uses live mealworms to attract them. Her success motivates me to try it too, so I keep a mealworm stash in my basement refrigerator during the warm months.  

 

I initially place the worms in a small cup on top of a bluebird feeder that sets on my deck railing. When the bluebirds find them, I put the mealworms inside the feeder and they visit it.  

 

Bluebird houses perch on five-foot-high-metal poles in an open area in my yard with baffles clamped below to prevent snakes and animals from climbing and invading their homes.  Though they have attempted nests in the houses, wrens and sparrows usually evict them before their eggs hatch.  

Bluebird House With Baffle (photo by dorothyadele)

Bluebird House With Baffle (photo by dorothyadele)

 

 My best bluebird attraction is my heated birdbath. It supplies fresh water on freezing days when other sources are scarce. Birds flock to the birdbath and entertain us with their activity and color on cold winter days.

 

 

Not only have the birds entertained us, but the mealworms have too. One day, my sister-in-law opened my basement refrigerator looking for a drink, and she was curious about the contents of the burlap sack on the shelf. When she opened the mealworm bag, I had heard a loud scream, and I knew that she had found my special stockpile. I guess that mealworms were the last thing that she expected to find in my refrigerator!

dorothyadele

English: Mealworm

English: Mealworm (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bluebird Flegeling

Bluebirds nested, fledged and one probably dead

I have  attracted  bluebirds using mealworms and birdbaths, but I have not been successful with them nesting in my bluebird box until this year.

In the past, bluebirds have attempted to build a nest, only to have sparrows evict them. This year a pair of bluebirds laid eggs and produced four nestlings.

Two weeks ago, the baby bluebirds left their nest or fledged.  When I walked outside, several adult  bluebirds dive bombed me, and I spotted four fledglings hopping on my lawn.

Fledgling survival depends on the parents hearing their call and finding them. The parents will continue to feed  and care for them for three to four weeks as they learn independence.

Unfortunately not all fledglings survive. The day after I saw the baby bluebirds,  I found fledgling feathers on the lawn, and I suspected that  a predator attacked at least one of them.

Some of their  predators include snakes, fire ants, opossum, mice, rats, owls, and raccoons.  In addition,  humans also threaten their survival through pesticide use and  removal of their habitat through development.

Some sources say about 50 percent of fledglings will not survive, but I suspect that the number is greater.

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