Alongside an oriole’s preferred diet of sweet treats like nectar, these birds will also flock to feeders that offer mealworms.
There are two times of the year that orioles can benefit greatly from the appearance of mealworms at their feeders.The first is during the early summer months. Mealworms offer an increased nutritional source here for those birds with fledglings. Another time when mealworms greatly help orioles is when the weather begins to get colder. By the end of autumn and moving into winter, orioles will start to favor foods offering a plentiful protein source.
Therefore, if you’re keen on attracting these splendid birds to your yard throughout the year, having mealworms can help you do this.
Here we offer our expert advice on how to feed mealworms to your visiting orioles.
How Do You Feed Orioles Mealworms?
Orioles can be fed mealworms at any time of the year. You don’t necessarily have to wait until the colder months or until you see fledging orioles.
Mealworms are perhaps one of the easier of bird foods to put out, and certainly, the less messy. Thus, they can be fed straight from the packet.
There are several ways that you can choose to feed orioles their mealworms:
- Scatter handfuls of dried mealworms on a bird table
- Mix some of the dried mealworms into any current seed offerings
- Mix dried mealworms in with selected nuts
- Place some dried mealworms into a suet cake
- Stick a handful of mealworms into a piece of fruit
- Offer some mealworms soaked in some warm water
However, many people who welcome orioles into their yards will have a specially designed oriole feeder. These are perfect for filling up with food such as nectars, jellies, and jam choices. However, when it comes to placing mealworms into these feeders, they aren’t so practical. Therefore, mealworms will work better placed on bird tables or feeders with trays designed for this purpose.
Many companies offer specific mealworm trays as part of their feeding station designs. Alternatively, feeding tubes that comfortably hold a large number of mealworms will keep them fresh until the birds are ready to feed on them.
In addition to this, you could also hang your mealworms in suet cakes or bird balls from feeders on a standing bird station. Better still, if you can offer such feeding areas in bright colors, you’ll catch the eye of more passing orioles as you do!
Will Orioles Eat Dried Mealworms?
Most orioles will love seeing mealworms as they are easy to eat and a form of fast food!
Dried mealworms are usually the more commonly offered mealworms types at many bird feeders. This is because they are available at many pet stores and bird food suppliers and often encourage a swifter feeding process. There are also a few other advantages to choosing dried mealworms for orioles, including:
- Dried mealworms are a convenient bird food to offer either on their own or mixed in with other food types.
- Dried mealworms are a nutritious food. This is because they offer orioles that perfect balance of fat, protein, and fiber – thus promoting good health.
- Dried mealworms will not spoil. This means they require less maintenance than live mealworms. Some people find they can re-hydrate dry mealworms that have sat in the feeder for a while with a little water or even nectar.
- Dried mealworms will not crawl away – unlike live mealworms, which is great if you can’t stand the thought of live bugs in your feeders!
- Dried mealworms appeal more to an oriole’s natural feeding instinct. As mealworms are a basic part of their diet, orioles will certainly prefer those feeders providing a combination of these as well as their usual sweet treats.
Should I Soak Dried Mealworms?
Many people believe that it’s necessary to soak mealworms before they offer them out to the birds in their feeders. However, this isn’t essential.
Orioles, like many other birds, can cope with the substance of mealworms because they aren’t that overly hard and crumble quite quickly. So, they’re a perfect fit for their tiny beaks. Thus, most orioles will not have a problem with eating dried mealworms that have been placed in their feeder straight from the packet.
However, you can offer dried mealworms after soaking them in water if you prefer to. This is more important if you’re placing this food type out during the breeding season. Fledging orioles that attempt to eat dried mealworms like their parents may choke on the shells. So, if you are aware of a family of orioles visiting your feeders, you may want to soak your dried mealworms in warm water. This way, they will still be edible but simply softened to reduce any potential choking risks during this early stage.
Then, when these baby birds are old enough, you can revert back to putting out dried mealworms once again.
How Many Mealworms Should You Feed a Baby Oriole?
If you find yourself in the situation of caring for a baby oriole, how you feed them mealworms will differ greatly here.
Any mealworms offered to a baby oriole will need to be soaked in warm water beforehand. Then you can feed the mealworm using a pair of tweezers.
With baby birds, you’ll need to emulate how parents feed them in the wild. This can mean as often as one mealworm every 15 to 30 minutes in those very early stages.
Our Final Thoughts
Here at BirdWatchingBuzz, we thoroughly recommend offering out mealworms to orioles whenever you can. This is one food source that no bird can resist, and a great way to attract more of these stunning feathered friends to your feeders.
Though it’s worth noting that this can become an expensive hobby – not to mention one that requires you to closely monitor your feeders. Mealworms will not last long on any bird station, especially once the birds are aware of its presence and have spread the word!
But, if you want to continue to attract orioles in their numbers and all the year through, mealworms, alongside their sweet food offerings, are definitely the best solution.