What Birds Eat Dried Mealworms? (Some Favorites of Birders)

Dried mealworms are a popular choice among bird enthusiasts for attracting various species of birds to their backyards. These dehydrated larvae of beetles serve as a protein-rich meal, ideal for many bird species including robins, jays, chickadees, nuthatches, and bluebirds, among others. In addition to being a scrumptious treat, dried mealworms also supply the necessary nutrients for a bird’s overall well-being, supporting molt, reproduction, and muscle growth.

Feeding dried mealworms to birds can be done year-round, both as a supplement to their natural food sources or as an occasional treat. To maximize the appeal of these insects, it is essential to follow the recommendations for storing and purchasing them, ensuring fresh and quality mealworms for your feathered friends. Additionally, employing specific tips for attracting a variety of birds, such as using different types of feeders or placing them in strategic locations, can further enhance your birdwatching experience.

Key Takeaways

  • Dried mealworms attract various bird species and provide essential nutrients for their overall well-being.
  • Feeding dried mealworms can be done year-round, supplementing natural food sources or as an occasional treat.
  • To maximize the appeal of mealworms, follow proper storage and purchasing guidelines, and employ tips for attracting diverse bird species.

Bird Species Attracted to Dried Mealworms


Bluebirds are amongst the many bird species that enjoy dried mealworms. Both Eastern and Western Bluebirds can benefit from these protein-rich snacks. Offer dried mealworms in tray feeders or specialized bluebird feeders to attract these beautiful birds to your yard.

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Robins are also known to eat dried mealworms, as they naturally feed on insects. Offering dried mealworms as a supplement to their diet helps to imitate their natural feeding habits. Position a small dish filled with dried mealworms near a birdbath or feeder to create a welcoming space for robins.


Wrens, such as the Carolina Wren and House Wren, appreciate dried mealworms as a food source. Place mealworms in a hanging dish or in a tray feeder to entice wrens into your yard. They enjoy foraging for insects, so providing dried mealworms can mirror their natural searching behavior.


Nuthatches, like the White-breasted Nuthatch and Red-breasted Nuthatch, feast on insects and are attracted to dried mealworms. You can either mix dried mealworms with other birdseed or offer them separately in a feeder specifically designed for nuthatches.


Chickadees, including the Black-capped Chickadee and Carolina Chickadee, also consume dried mealworms. These friendly birds benefit from a reliable food source like mealworms, which provide the essential protein they need to thrive. Offering these snacks in a tray feeder or hanging mesh bag will help attract chickadees to your yard.


Woodpeckers, such as Downy Woodpeckers and Hairy Woodpeckers, find dried mealworms to be a nutritious addition to their diet. Put mealworms in a suet cage or on a platform feeder to provide woodpeckers with this valuable food source.


Titmice, like the Tufted Titmouse, appreciate the additional nutrition dried mealworms offer. Set these protein-rich treats in either tube feeders or tray feeders to attract these playful songbirds to your yard.


Warblers, although primarily insectivores, may still be attracted to dried mealworms in your garden. Offering them in combination with other bird-friendly meals, such as seeds, will increase the likelihood of attracting these brightly colored birds.


Northern Mockingbirds are known to eat dried mealworms as part of their varied omnivorous diet. To draw mockingbirds to your yard, provide dried mealworms in platform feeders or hanging mesh feeders. They enjoy mimicking other birds’ songs and foraging for insects, making mealworms a fantastic treat.

Remember that diverse bird species can flourish in your backyard with the presence of dried mealworms. By catering to their various feeding habits and providing them with this important protein source, you can create a bird-watching paradise, all while supporting the local ecosystem.

Nutritional Benefits of Dried Mealworms

Protein and Fat Content

Dried mealworms are a fantastic source of protein and fat for birds. These larvae of the mealworm beetle contain an impressive amount of protein, which is essential for growth and repair in birds. Additionally, the fat content in dried mealworms provides the energy birds need to stay active throughout the day.

Essential Nutrients

Besides protein and fat, dried mealworms are packed with other essential nutrients that birds require. They are rich in vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, which are crucial for maintaining strong bones, proper muscle function, and overall health. Moreover, dried mealworms contain important amino acids, making them a wholesome food choice for our feathered friends.


Feeding dried mealworms to birds is not only beneficial for the birds themselves but also for the people who care for them. These dehydrated insects are a convenient option as they can be stored for extended periods and require no additional preparation. Furthermore, dried mealworms are easy to serve and can be mixed with other bird foods or even placed in specialized feeders to attract a variety of bird species, such as robins, jays, woodpeckers, and many more.

Feeding Dried Mealworms

Preparation and Moisture

When feeding dried mealworms to birds, it is essential to prepare them properly and consider their moisture content. This is because birds, especially insect-eating birds, rely on the moisture from their food sources. To increase the moisture content of dried mealworms, you can rehydrate them by soaking them in warm water for about 20 minutes. This will make the mealworms more appealing and easier for birds to consume.

Mealworm Feeders

To serve dried mealworms to birds, consider using a dedicated mealworm feeder. These feeders are designed to hold mealworms securely and provide easy access for birds. Some mealworm feeders feature a dish or a tray with mesh or small holes that prevent mealworms from falling out, allowing birds to easily pick and enjoy their meal.

Bird Seed Mixes

Combining dried mealworms with bird seed mixes can attract a wide variety of birds, including insectivores and granivores. You can simply mix dried mealworms with a quality seed blend that includes sunflower seeds, corn, and millet. This combination will provide birds with a diverse array of nutrients and encourage a higher frequency of bird visits to your yard.

Adding Water Sources

In addition to providing dried mealworms, you should also ensure that birds have access to clean, fresh water. This can be achieved by placing a bird bath or a water dish near the mealworm feeder in your garden. Maintaining a water source is important as it allows birds to drink, bathe, and soften their food if necessary. Make sure to regularly clean and refill the water supply to keep your feathered friends healthy and hydrated.

Remember to keep your feeding stations clean and free from any debris or spoiled food, as this will help you maintain a safe and enjoyable environment for birds to visit. Following these guidelines will help you effectively and responsibly feed dried mealworms to the birds in your backyard, attracting a diverse array of species to your garden.

Natural Food Sources Vs. Dried Mealworms

Insects and Larvae

In the wild, birds primarily rely on insects and their larvae as a main source of food, providing essential proteins and nutrients. Live mealworms, which are beetle larvae, are a popular choice among bird enthusiasts to attract insect-eating birds like bluebirds, robins, and woodpeckers. However, dried mealworms offer a more convenient and low-cost alternative to live mealworms while still retaining some nutritional value.

Although dried mealworms may not provide the same level of appeal to these birds as live ones, they remain an effective option for attracting a variety of birds to your yard. It’s important to note that some birds may not consume dried mealworms as readily as they would their natural food sources.

Fruits and Berries

Many birds also enjoy feasting on fruits and berries, which provide essential vitamins and carbohydrates. In the wild, these avian species can be seen frequently munching on fruits like apples, cherries, and elderberries. Alongside dried mealworms, you can offer a mix of fruits and berries to cater to the dietary preferences of different birds, potentially attracting a greater variety of species to your yard.

Fruits and berries come with an additional advantage: they don’t require the same level of maintenance or containment as mealworms. So while dried mealworms may attract certain insect-eating birds, fruits and berries can attract a wider range of species, offering a more diverse backyard bird-watching experience.

Nuts and Seeds

Feeding nuts and seeds is another popular practice among bird enthusiasts as a means to attract various bird species to their yards. These food sources provide essential fats and nutrients required for bird growth and energy.

By offering a variety of nuts and seeds, you can cater to the dietary preferences of many birds, such as chickadees, nuthatches, and jays. Combining dried mealworms with nuts and seeds in your bird-feeding station can create a well-rounded, nutrient-rich offering that caters to the diverse appetites of different bird species.

All in all, while dried mealworms may not have the same visual and nutritional appeal as live insects and larvae, they still provide an effective means of attracting certain bird species. Combining these mealworms with other food sources, such as fruits, berries, nuts, and seeds, can help attract a diverse range of avian visitors to your yard and sustain their nutritional needs.

Storing and Purchasing Dried Mealworms

When it comes to providing a nutritious and appealing snack for backyard birds, dried mealworms are an excellent choice. They are convenient, low-cost, and can attract a variety of bird species. To make the most of this bird-feeding option, it’s important to know the proper storage and purchasing techniques.

To purchase dried mealworms, you can visit local pet stores or look for online retailers. These stores typically offer a wide range of dried mealworm products, so you can choose the size and quantity that best suits your needs. It’s a good idea to compare prices and read reviews to find the best quality mealworms at a reasonable price.

Once you have your dried mealworms, proper storage is essential to maintain their freshness and appeal to birds. It is recommended to store dried mealworms in a cool, dry, and dark place, away from direct sunlight and moisture. A sealed container or a resealable plastic bag will help prevent any contaminants from entering the mealworms.

If you’ve bought a large quantity of mealworms or you live in a warm climate, you may want to consider storing them in the refrigerator. This helps preserve their quality for a longer period and prevents any unwanted spoilage. However, it’s important to allow the mealworms to reach room temperature before feeding them to the birds, as this makes them more appetizing to feathered visitors.

At the end of the day, dried mealworms are a versatile and popular food option for attracting various backyard birds. Purchasing them from reputable pet stores or online retailers and storing them properly will ensure they remain fresh and palatable, providing a delicious and nutritious treat for your avian friends.

Additional Tips for Attracting Birds

To increase your chances of attracting various bird species to your backyard, consider incorporating mealworm feeders into your bird-feeding strategy. Offering both live and dried mealworms can provide additional nutrients that birds need, enticing them to visit your yard more often.

When setting up mealworm feeders in your backyard, make sure to select a location that is both safe and visible. Birds will appreciate a feeder that is protected from predators but still easy to access. Additionally, place it near natural cover, like bushes or trees, to provide them with a safe spot to perch and eat.

When offering mealworms, consider using a mixture of live and dried mealworms to satisfy the varying preferences of different bird species. Keep in mind that a balance of protein-rich mealworms and other types of bird feed will attract a larger variety of birds to your yard.

Remember that attracting birds to your backyard may require some patience, and you might not see immediate results. Don’t be discouraged if the birds don’t flock to your mealworm feeders right away. It can take time for birds to discover and become comfortable with a new food source. To help birds find your mealworm feeders, you can try placing them near other bird feeders that are already visited by birds.

Consistently maintaining and refilling your mealworm feeders is also essential for creating a dependable food source for your feathered friends. Birds are more likely to return to your backyard if they know they can rely on a consistent and nutritious food source. Stay committed to keeping your feeders stocked and clean, and you’ll soon notice an increase in bird activity.

Happy birdwatching!

Frequently Asked Questions

What types of birds prefer to eat dried mealworms?

Many bird species enjoy eating dried mealworms, including birds such as robins, blue jays, wrens, and bluebirds. These insects provide essential nutrients and are an increasingly popular food option for attracting a variety of birds to your backyard.

How do I properly feed dried mealworms to birds?

Feeding dried mealworms to birds is easy. First, place the mealworms in a shallow dish or a specialized mealworm feeder. These can be hung or mounted in a location that is easily accessible for birds, yet safe from predators such as cats. Additionally, it’s important to keep the feeding area clean and replenish the mealworms regularly to keep bird visitors coming back.

Can young birds safely consume dried mealworms?

Yes, young birds can safely consume dried mealworms. In fact, summer birds with hungry nestlings to feed will appreciate the added nourishment provided by these insects. It’s an excellent supplement to their diet and helps them grow and thrive.

Do cardinals and sparrows enjoy mealworms?

While cardinals and sparrows are not specifically known for seeking out mealworms, they may eat them occasionally if other food sources are scarce. They mostly prefer seeds and grains in their diet but can still be attracted to backyard bird feeders with a variety of food offerings, including mealworms.

Do other animals, like squirrels, eat dried mealworms?

Yes, other animals such as squirrels may also enjoy dried mealworms. Be mindful that providing mealworms might attract other wildlife to your backyard, which could make feeding birds a bit more challenging. To prevent squirrels or other animals from stealing mealworms intended for birds, you can invest in squirrel-proof feeders or additional tactics for keeping animals away.

Why might birds not eat the provided mealworms?

There could be several reasons why birds might not eat the provided mealworms. For one, they may not be particularly interested in mealworms if they have abundant natural food sources in the vicinity. Additionally, the birds in your backyard might not belong to species that frequently eat mealworms. Another possibility is that the feeding area is not adequately clean or situated, prompting birds to avoid it. Ensuring a clean, accessible, and visible feeding area can help entice birds to partake in the mealworms provided.

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