Photo of Bushtits on Suet by Darla Smith
The time it takes for a newly hatched bird to grow from a naked chick to a feathered adult-sized adolescent is just a matter of weeks. Yep, crazy growth rate! Since most songbirds’ young cannot digest seed, bird parents spend all daylight hours hunting for insects and foods packed with protein and fat to feed their fast-growing nestlings. When spring cold snaps reduce insect availability, birds are at risk of losing one or more of their nestlings. Lacking food for even one one day can make the difference between nesting success or failure.
You can offer live mealworms and suet to help birds have enough food for their young. Your bonus is the entertainment that follows! Watch mom and dad carry off suet or mealworms to the nest to supplement insects they’ve found. Later, watch parents feed their young right at your feeders! Of course, being fed there means the young will put your yard in their natural GPS and continue to visit your feeders from spring right through winter.
Insect Lover’s Nutty Feast from our own line of premium suet is especially rich in protein and fat, making it an excellent suet choice for birdie baby food.
If you haven’t tried offering live mealworms, you are in for a treat! Feeling squeamish about worms? Mealworms are dry beetle larvae in a tub of bran. You can spoon them out on a glass dish with sides and the birds will be thrilled. Don’t be surprised when they line up 3-4 worms in their bills, much as puffin do with fish, and take off to feed their young!