Instead of mealworms - squeamish!

I realise mealworms are very important food but the sight of them turns my stomach and that’s just the dried sort. 

Are “buggy nibbles” an appropriate substitute for my garden birds?

Also - what do I need to know about garden bird feeding when adults are feeding young? 

Sarah
West London
  • Hi Sarah.
    A lot of people stop feeding in the nesting season due to there being natural food out, but I continue all year round because I think it helps the parents grab a bit of food for themselves while out hunting for food for their young.
    The RSPB don't recommend you put whole or large bits of peanuts out for fear of choking the young.
    I put out homemade raw pastry just plain flour and lard with a splash of water (no salt), you can make balls or sausage shape of it to go in fatball feeders or square blocks to go in fatcake feeders.
    If you feel generous you can add most bird food to the pastry like seeds, finely ground up peanuts and sunflower hearts.

    My Flickr photos

  • Hi
    Most birds like suet and lard based products, whether homemade pastry as Alan suggests or "buggy nibbles". This is what the RSPB say about their nibbles
    " They can be fed from a wire mesh nut and nibble feeder year-round. As they don't have the choking hazards of whole peanuts, they are also suitable for feeding loose from tables." So they should be suitable even when young are around. When I put them out, they were the first to vanish, taken by pretty much anything that moves in the garden! The birds were usually just waiting to ambush me.
    One of the major problems with young is choking as the parents try to put any food down their throats, so don't put anything large and dry out, especially bits of bread, whole peanuts, etc. As well as fat or suet based products, I think small seeds eg sunflower hearts should also be OK

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    Nige   Flickr

  • I can totally understand where you are coming from Sarah. I personally wouldn't worry too much, you can buy tubs and bags of suet pellets that contain mealworms and other insects. It doesn't have to be expensive. The only thing is that starlings will flock to suet and they can bully the little birds. So my solution was to put out a a very large suet feeder that the starlings go to and put out quality bird seed for the little guys, sunflower hearts are popular with small birds and a feeder with smaller perches will prevent the bigger birds from stealing their stuff. Also clean the feeders regularly, to prevent spread of disease among the birds. It's a bit fiddly but worth it for the little critters safety. You enjoy the birds. They are fun to watch. And fascinating!