Jim Williams has been watching birds and writing about their antics since before "Gilligan's Island" went into reruns. Join him for his unique insights, his everyday adventures and an open conversation about the birds in your back yard and beyond.

Rain means swallows, bluebirds can use help

Posted by: Jim Williams under Bird conservation, Bird feeding, Bird migration Updated: April 28, 2014 - 11:40 AM

This rotten weather, bad as you might think it is, is worse for some of the migrant bird species now here, early migrants like Eastern Bluebirds and Tree Swallows. Both eat insects, although bluebirds can supplement their diet with berries. The swallows rely completely on flying insects. This rain is making it almost impossible to find insects. I asked Carrol Henderson about this. Carrol is supervisor of the non-game wildlife department of the Minnesota DNR. This is his reply:

“Yes, I think our "insectivores" are In for a difficult couple weeks ahead! If someone has easy access to nest boxes in their yard or property, they could order mealworms from companies like Grubco or Rainbow mealworms, and place them in "feeders" like tuna cans or old breakfast food bowls (these keep the mealworms from escaping) on elevated sites like on top of a fencepost or fastened on a tray on top of a post near the nest box. The mealworms can be kept sealed in their containers in the garage as long as it is so cool. Otherwise, they may need to be stashed in an obscure spot in the refrigerator!  

“This cool weather is also a good reminder for people to plant fruit-bearing shrubs with shrubs like American highbush cranberry and bittersweet as an early-spring emergency food source for returning bluebirds.” 

Many wild-bird supply stores also carry meal worms. This White-breasted Nuthatch is taking a meal worm.

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT