Bluetit Food

  1. Hi all, I have two birdboxes, one with a camera in. I have a couple of small bird feeders hanging in a tree near by which doesn't get much activity. Both boxes had broods so put up some suet blocks which all adults used to feed themselves and the chics. My question is, is the appropriate food for the chics?  One brood had only one adult.  I watched the mother give some suet to a fledgling after it left the box and looked liked it struggled to swallow the food. With the high temperatures in May, and melting of the suet, could this causing problems when feeding the chics?  The suet does seem sticky but the adult feeders seemed to rely on it. Want advise of I should take them down and / or what should I replace them with?  Thanks
  • Hello Omega,   young nestings/fledglings need more natural foods like insects as the adult birds tend to coincide their breeding and hatching of chicks with the emergence of an abundance of caterpillars (oak moth ) and will feed them other things such as spiders.    The nearest food to their natural diet would be live mealworms or waxworms (wax moth)  which you can buy online if you want to supply foods if you think the birds are struggling to find enough of their own insects.     Fat balls and suet provide no real source for growing chicks and as you have witnessed, the wrong type can congeal and maybe even choke a chick especially if the fatty food is exposed to sun in the feeders.     During breeding months live mealworms (which are expensive) can give the chicks the more natural source they need.   HERE is an online site where I purchase my live foods from;   they are delivered by the normal postie usually the next day.    To be honest, if the suet blocks are sticky then please take them away in case it causes harm to young nestlings or fledglings.   Normally the birds can find enough natural foods themselves but if only one parent is left it can be a struggle to keep them all fed so providing mealworms or waxworms can help;      you can get dedicated feeders for the worms which stop larger birds from gobbling up this expensive food.    If you have a lot of birds coming into your garden you can just wait and watch when you see the blue tit adults around and chuck out a few mealworms at a time so they will hopefully be able to grab a few.    That way you don't go bankrupt   !!       Birds like Blue Tits tend to have larger broods so it covers the loss of any chicks that don't survive or get taken by predators after fledging and even if only two or three survive it will still sustain their numbers in the wild.     Hopefully most of the chicks will survive now they have fledged and if there is enough insects around,   One other thing, suet/fat blocks should never be hung where there is full sunlight;   it is a mainly winter food given to birds.      Never hang feeders close to any nest boxes or nesting site.    Good luck and hope you see lots of activity from these beautiful blue tit chicks and the parent birds.  

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    Regards, Hazel 

    "Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again"