Some of the most sought-after backyard birds are bluebirds. They are very attractive and also picky in some special seasons of the year such as winter. Therefore, it can be challenging to entice these colorful birds to feeders without knowing the answer to the question: “What do bluebirds eat in the winter?”.
Do bluebirds migrate in the winter?
Even while a lot of eastern bluebirds do move south in the fall, some remain. Small groups of bluebirds spend the entire winter season in various locations throughout southern Ontario. The majority of eastern bluebirds migrate from September to early December, with some returning as early as February.
If you locate in the southern United States, you may be able to see these amazing aviators all year because winter temperatures in the southern states are milder. If you live in the northern United States, the bird will migrate as far south as Mexico. Some people may travel over 2,000 kilometers from Manitoba to Texas.
How you can help bluebirds survive in winter?
One of the keys to their survival in cold weather is having safe places to sleep at night. Bluebirds can stay warm by roosting together in the birdhouse. Close all gaps, drainage holes, and so on with some form of insulating material to keep drafts and cold out of your birdhouse. Simply leave the entry hole open.
During the colder months, flocks of bluebirds move together in search of both primary and secondary food sources. They eat a range of wild fruits, such as sumac, winterberry, poison ivy, and wild grape. Therefore, you should know clearly what do bluebirds eat in the winter to provide the right source.
Many kinds of birds really need your help during the winter, check out these articles to see more tips to feed birds and help them survive winter:
- What do cardinals eat in the winter? 3 tasty foods cardinals enjoy
- What do robins eat in winter? 4 tips to help robins survive in winter
What do bluebirds eat in the winter?
What to feed bluebirds in the winter? Wintertime bluebird diet recommendations include fruit, mealworms, hulled sunflower seeds, peanut butter, bluebird banquet mixture, and suet. When insects are harder to get by in the winter, bluebirds will happily eat these six items which are high caloric content:
More than 60% of the bluebird’s diet in the winter is made up of protein. Therefore, one of the finest ways to draw bluebirds to your yard, in any season, even in the winter, is to offer mealworms. The dried mealworm has 53% protein, 28% fat, 6% fiber, and 5% moisture, but the live mealworm contains 20% protein, 13% fat, 2% fiber, and 62% moisture.
Mealworms are an excellent option because they are quite simple to buy in bait shops and online, and bluebirds absolutely adore them. To attract bluebirds, try placing a platform feeder or, even better, a hanging bluebird feeder close to a bluebird nest box with a few live mealworms. Give your bluebirds some time to find the feeder by being patient. When your bluebirds are familiar with the location of the feeder, the wiggling of the mealworms will draw them in like a magnet.
In the winter, bluebirds eat a ton of fruit. Bluebirds naturally shift from an insect-centered diet to a fruit-focused diet as the ground freezes and insects become more difficult to find. Bluebirds will happily accept fruit at your feeder if you provide it because they normally consume a lot of fruit in the winter. Fruit can be served simply in a hanging bluebird feeder or on a platform feeder.
For fresh fruit, consider serving entire berries like blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries or finely sliced slices of apples or pears. Moreover, Raisins and dried currants are both excellent dried fruit choices for bluebirds. Before serving, chop them up and soak them in hot water for at least 30 minutes. The dried fruit will get softer throughout the soaking process, making it easier for bluebirds to consume.
3. Hulled sunflower/Nyjer/Safflower seeds
Bluebirds will consume hulled sunflower seeds from a feeder even though they are not the typical seed-eaters. Each seed includes 28% fat, 25% fiber, 15% protein, and other necessary minerals including calcium, iron, vitamin E, B, potassium, and others.
Bluebirds frequently choose hulled sunflower seeds because they lack the tough outer shell, are easy for them to digest, and are an affordable feeder alternative.
Simply add some sunflower seeds to the fruit or mealworms that your bluebirds are already consuming at the feeder. If you feed the birds in a familiar location, they will be more accepting of the new food and will probably welcome the variation.
You can feed bluebirds with some types of seeds:
- Nyjer Seeds: 18% protein, 35% fat, 27% fiber
- Safflower Seeds: 38% fat, 16% protein, 34% carbohydrates
4. Peanut butter
In the winter, bluebirds cheerfully eat peanut butter, probably because the high-calorie content will keep them warm if other food sources are sparse. Peanut butter nutrition has 190 calories per 2 tablespoon serving, as well as 16g fat, 8g carbohydrates, 2g fiber, and 7g protein. Peanut butter contains a lot of good fats, folate, potassium, vitamin E, and B vitamins.
The best option for peanut butter to put out at your bird feeder is typically one that is branded “natural.” Typically, natural peanut butter doesn’t have hydrogenated oils. If you’re curious, chunky peanut butter is preferable to creamy peanut butter because bluebirds seem to enjoy picking out the peanut pieces, though this is probably just a minor preference.
5. Homemade mixture
The recipe was developed specifically for bluebirds, therefore, you can learn how to do it and make your bird feeder more attractive in the winter. This mixture is very popular with bluebirds. Some say you can use solid shortening in place of the suet and it works fine. You may want to double up on the amount of suet if the recipe is too crumbly. Nutritional analysis: Protein 12.7%, Carbohydrates 45.9%, Fat 32.7%, Fiber 5.9%:
- MIX 1 cup of peanut butter
- Add 1 cup of fine sunflower seed chips to 4 cups of yellow cornmeal and 1 cup of unbleached or whole-wheat flour
- 1.25 cups of peanut hearts (or finely ground nuts)
- 1 cup rendered, melted suet DRIZZLE and STIR IN 1/2 to 1 cup Zante currants (or raisins split in half, or chopped dried cherries)
The resulting mixture should be crumbly and have bean/pea sized lumps from the dripping of melted suet. If the mixture becomes too sticky after cooling, add a little more flour. If the mixture is too dry, add additional melted suet. Refrigerate any remaining mixture to avoid rancidity of the suet.
You may either buy a commercial pure bird suet cake or make your own. Butcher store suet can be ground or cubed. Melt over a low flame. Suet is a fat that can catch fire if heated to high temperatures. It is possible to utilize a microwave. Remove the stringy parts using a strainer.
A lot of birds rely on suet, a hard-fat product typically made from beef, for their winter sustenance because it is packed with calories. Suet is typically marketed in blocks that include a mixture of several seeds. While not all types of suet you may buy at a hardware shop will attract bluebirds, they will consume suet when combined with other meals that are suitable for them, such as hulled sunflower seeds or dried mealworms.
How to feed bluebirds in the winter?
We offer some practical tips for you to give some food to bluebirds in the winter:
- Wait to make your offer until you can see bluebirds. Because when Bluebirds are not around, offering mealworms will ensure that many other birds are fed.
- If unwanted birds are consuming your mealworm offerings, stop providing them for a few days or longer and restart your feeding program utilizing the advice we’ve provided.
- Other items that bluebirds may eat include dried mealworms, suet, Bluebird nuggets (a sort of suet), raisins, blueberries, sliced apples, and grapes. Try something new, then report back to us.
- Location is critical. Avoid feeding them close to bird feeders or in an area where many birds congregate.
1. What should I feed bluebirds in the winter?
You can give bluebirds sunflower hearts, softened raisins, blueberries, and currants during the colder months. Be aware that unless in the worst weather, bluebirds rarely consume these other things.
2. Will bluebirds use a house in the winter?
Bluebirds frequently stop by nest boxes during the winter. They might even be seen bringing some nesting materials inside the box. This is not true nesting activity but more than likely a male showing off a suitable site to raise offspring to a female. Getting a head start never hurts. According to us, there is no better day than the present to erect a new Bluebird box. Better off if they notice it right away.
3. Do bluebirds eat dried mealworms in the winter?
Typically, mealworms are fed live food. The dead, black ones are typically not eaten by bluebirds. The dried mealworms will be eaten by some bluebirds. If they are combined with suet or freeze-dried, mealworms may be consumed by others who have no other options.
Here are our recommendations about bluebirds’ habits, foods, and feeding tips. This article will surely help you learn how to draw bluebirds to your yard and give solutions about “What do bluebirds eat in the winter?”.