Mealworms were in short supply earlier this year, but Wild Birds Unlimited has them now.
I bought a tub of 500 mealworms on Friday, and put a couple of spoonsful of them in the mealworm tray — complete with a little roof — on my deck.
I know the chickadees will be pleased, although as far as I can tell they haven’t discovered the mealworms yet.
So this is my present menu for birds that choose to come to my backyard:
- SAFFLOWER. I always have safflower. It’s in a tube feeder and a tray feeder.WHAT’S EATING IT — Mostly chickadees, house finches and, I think, a pair of purple finches. It’s going slowly, which is OK. Safflower isn’t cheap.
- NECTAR. The nectar (a home brew: four parts water, one part sugar) is in an oriole feeder and a hummingbird feeder. WHAT’S EATING IT — Nothing but insects. A lone hummingbird was feeding regularly until the crabapple trees and lilacs blossomed, then it left me.
- GRAPE JELLY. It’s in the oriole feeder, watered down for bird consumption. WHAT’S EATING IT — A house finch, or possibly a purple finch, is a big fan. Last year, a couple of catbirds thrived on the grape jelly. I haven’t seen them yet this year, but I’m pretty sure I’ve been hearing a catbird in the neighborhood.
- NYJER. Nothing is eating the nyjer (aka thistle), a contrast to the winter when I couldn’t keep up with ravenous redpolls. I had three nyjer feeders out then, just one now. A couple of weeks ago a cluster of some sort of finches briefly went after the nyjer, then they quickly disappeared.
- SUET. I don’t usually have suet out in the summer. I took the suet log down, but I’ve got a suet cake hanging in a place that discourages squirrels and frustrates starlings. WHAT’S EATING IT — A downy woodpecker and/or a hairy woodpecker; sometimes I have a hard time telling them apart. They come several times a day, but never stay long. The starlings still try to get some.
- MILLET. This is going fastest. I spread a little out on the deck and a little in a tray feeder each morning. WHAT’S EATING IT — At least one pair of chipping sparrows. Oddly, I haven’t had any other kinds of sparrows in my yard so far this year. The chipping sparrows are consistent visitors and fun to watch. Pigeons get some, too.
What are you feeding the birds? What are they eating? Your bird observations and pictures are always welcome at email@example.com.