Mealworm feeder

Live foods are vital to young birds in their first few weeks of life hence the mealworm feeder below. Mealworms are the larvae of the meal beetle and feed on a vegetable and cereal diet, thus making them perfectly safe to feed to your birds. Conversely maggots, that feed on offal, can spread disease.

Mealworms are very nutritious, so I'm told (!) and contain over 50% protein. If you have nesting birds you will be surprised at how quickly they disappear! Based on our experience (and confirmed by site visitors) it would be worth waiting until you are sure that there are young chicks to be fed before you buy your mealworms.

For the first few days the feeder attracted - not a dicky bird! In spite of its visible presence, the blue tits would pass over it without a second glance, although it was eventually found - first by the great tits, then by 'our' nesting blue tits.

Click the image for an enlarged view

This mealworm feeder is a standard, open fronted robin nest box that I made last year. The mesh is 25mm and permits access to blue tits. There's a 35mm gap underneath that will let great tits and house sparrows have access to the mealworms. I've no qualms about feeding sparrows. House sparrows have declined dramatically in the last few years so I feel they need all the help I can give them. Last year I constructed a sparrow terrace as a suitable nesting site.

The food is in a small plastic container at the back of the feeder and the structure keeps the mealworms perfectly dry. Excessive water and prolonged exposure to low temperature (below 3 degrees C) will kill mealworms.

By 30th May I was putting mealworms into the feeder on a regular basis and the parent birds would collect them almost before I'd walked away from the feeder. It's said that robins love mealworms so much that they can be trained to take them from your hand. That's a task for the dull days of winter.

Click inside any of the red areas
for an enlarged view

The distance from the mealworm feeder on the right, to the blue tit nest box on the left, is only a few yards, as the crow (?) flies.

The small white object inside the rectangular red box is the badger cam that enables us to see the badgers, even in total darkness. The wildlife pond is just out of camera shot, to the left.


DIY project

How to build a nest box

Nest Box Cam - page 1

Installing the camera

Diary images and text from a previous year

Nest Box Cam - page 2

Nest building and the subsequent 11 eggs

Nest Box Cam - page 3

First chicks!

Nest Box Cam - page 4

The chicks - now 4 days old

Nest Box Cam - page 5

Nest cleaning and toileting procedures!

Nest box Cam - page 6

The final chapter