What Do Bluebirds Eat?


What Do Bluebirds Eat?

The greatest thing to do when trying to draw bluebirds to your yard is to provide food for them. What do bluebirds consume, though?

As insectivores, bluebirds primarily consume invertebrate insects. Mealworms are a favorite food of bluebirds. Because of seasonal variations in insect availability, bluebirds must supplement their diet. During the colder months, bluebirds also enjoy eating seeds, berries, and fruits.

You now have a general understanding of the bluebirds’ diet, but what exactly do they eat?

You can learn everything you need to know about the bluebirds’ diet from this guide. Additionally, we’ll discuss some feeding practices that will encourage more bluebirds to visit your yard.

All right? So let’s go right in.

What do bluebirds eat in the wild?

1.  Insects

The majority of the bluebird’s diet consists of insects. Around 80% of their daily food intake throughout the spring and summer, when insects are plentiful, comes from insects [1]. The bluebirds will be nesting with their young at this time as well.

Insects are an important source of water and protein for bluebirds, thus they consume them. A newborn bluebird’s diet must include insects since the protein helps them grow. To help them bulk up for winter migrations south, they are also a good source of calories.

These are typical insects that bluebirds eat:

  • Ants
  • Beetles
  • Caterpillars
  • Grasshoppers
  • Crickets
  • Spiders
  • Snails
  • Moths
  • Mosquitoes
  • Worms

This is merely a list of the bugs that bluebirds consume. Most little and medium-sized insects will be consumed by them. Additionally, they consume a lot of insect larvae.

Foraging in broad, wide spaces is how bluebirds obtain insects to consume. They employ a range of predatory strategies, including perching over plants and grasses and descending onto the insects.

The insects will be eaten by the bluebirds and then regurgitated for the chicks back in the nest if they are raising them.

Bluebirds reside in areas with a plenty of food. During the warmer months, they primarily travel to Canada and the northern USA. This is due to the fact that there are lots of insects and little competition.

The bluebirds will go south as the insects begin to hibernate for the colder months. For the winter, they will travel from North America and Canada to more southern states including Mexico. The number of insects that are present in their surroundings will determine how far they migrate.

2. Fruits & Berries

Fruits and berries make up the rest of a bluebird’s diet. This amounts to about 30% of their diet during the summer, but increases to about 60% of their diet during the winter. This is as a result of fewer insects present and their utilization of fruits as a supplement.

Bluebirds will consume both berries and fruit that grows on trees. These serve as a great source of water, fiber, nutrition, and energy for bluebirds.

The fruit and berries of the trees and hedging that the bluebirds use as perches are frequently eaten by them. They will scavenge for fruit and berries, taking them straight off the tree to consume.

Typical foods consumed by bluebirds include:

  • Sumac
  • Dogwoods
  • Hawthorn
  • Blackberries
  • Bayberries
  • Pokeberries
  • Grapes
  • Apple crabs
  • Cherries
  • Cranberries

Berries are plentiful, making it much simpler for bluebirds to consume them. Berries are also more simpler for the bluebird’s sensitive beaks to consume than huge fruits with hard skins.

What do bluebirds eat at Feeders?

3. Mealworms

Mealworms are among the best things you can put out at the bird feeders in your yard. Mealworms are the food that comes closest to the natural diet of bluebirds, hence they like eating them.

Mealworms are loaded with protein and simple for bluebirds to consume. Additionally, they can feed them to their young.

Using live mealworms at a feeder is the best method for providing them. Rehydrating dried mealworms is the second-best choice. For the benefit of the bluebirds, this makes them juicy and plump.

Small mealworm feeders make it simple to provide mealworms (this one is a bestseller).

4. Chopped fruits

Bluebirds will frequent platform or ground feeders that offer chopped fruits. The same vitamins and sugar found in fruits and berries collected from the wild are provided by these for the bluebird.

The difference is that the bluebirds can access the meat of the fruits they ordinarily find challenging to eat in the wild thanks to the diced fruits.

The following fruit can be offered to bluebirds at your feeder:

  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Oranges
  • Cherries
  • Blueberries
  • Cranberries

5. Eggshells

Eggshells are among the most nutrient-dense meals you can provide to bluebirds at your feeders. You can just preserve the eggshells from kitchen leftovers; you don’t need anything special.

Being insectivores, bluebirds have a diet that is exceptionally high in protein. However, unless it is balanced out with a decent amount of calcium, this isn’t ideal for their health.

For females who are building nests, young, and to aid in the digestion of food by adult bluebirds, calcium is crucial.

The greatest approach to add calcium to the bluebird’s diet at your feeder is through eggshells.

The egg shell should be smashed after being baked in the oven. They can be ground into a fine powder or crushed into tiny pieces. You can then combine the eggshells with whatever other food you give the bluebirds.

6. Fats

Bluebirds will gladly devour the healthy fat sources you provide at your feeders as the weather grows cooler. Suet and peanut butter are the greatest to provide.

They depend on the lipids in the suet as a vital source of energy to get through the winter months. Suet works best when combined with other meals that bluebirds enjoy, like fruit or mealworms, on a platform feeder.

Suet with flavors like fruit or peanuts is another excellent choice for bluebirds. The dried fruit or nuts in these suets are especially beloved by bluebirds.

7. Sunflower hearts

Despite not being seed-feeding birds, bluebirds prefer sunflower hearts. That’s because sunflower hearts are without shells. As a result, the birds can eat the seed meat without having to crack open the shell.

In the wild, bluebirds avoid eating seeds because they have trouble cracking the shells. Instead of eating grains, their beaks are made to consume soft insects and fruit.

The benefit for you is that sunflower hearts don’t leave a mess of hulled seeds in your yard.

What do bluebirds eat in winter?

In the USA, finding insects in the winter is much more difficult. For a bird whose primary food source is insects, this is a concern.

In order to adapt, bluebirds have changed their diet to one that is heavier on fruit and berries during the colder months. Nevertheless, they will still have access to some insects.

That’s because throughout the winter, bluebirds will move slightly south to a region with a plentiful supply of insects. Typically, this is to southern states, but some wintering bluebirds travel as far as Mexico.

As a result, the bluebirds won’t have to go without eating during the entire winter.

Nevertheless, some bluebirds might spend the winter in states further north. Try to aid a bluebird’s survival if you see one in your yard during the winter by providing a fresh food source. The ideal food for them is mealworms, but fruits and suet are also suitable.

Additionally, you should always provide birds with a source of fresh water during the winter.

Final thoughts

As insectivores, bluebirds mostly consume insects for food. However, during the winter, when insects are dormant, a diet focused on insects is not recommended. Bluebirds will change their diet during this period to focus more on fruit and berries.

Bluebirds receive the vital nutrients from these meals that they require to live and prosper in the wild.

Over the United States, southern Canada, and northern Mexico, bluebirds will find an abundant supply of food. In the winter, they go to warmer regions where there is a higher food source.

A fantastic approach to get bluebirds in your yard is to put food out at your feeder. Additionally, you will be able to assist bluebirds that overwinter by providing them with food throughout the lean winter months. For optimal results, provide fruit, suet, and mealworms.


[1] Benedict C. Pinkowski, “Foraging Behavior of the Eastern Bluebird”


Do bluebirds eat bird seed?

Bird seed is rarely consumed by bluebirds, but they occasionally eat shelled sunflower, safflower, and peanut chips and nut meats. They won’t digest fruit seeds, therefore they will pass through their system.

Will bluebirds eat regular bird seed?

It is significant to remember that bluebirds typically avoid the most popular backyard bird food options, such as whole sunflower seeds, millet, and mixed birdseed. Bluebirds don’t usually eat seed, but they will try sunflower chips if they are readily available and there are no other food sources nearby.

Will bluebirds eat from a feeder?

Bluebirds being fed in the yard To entice the hungry bluebirds, a variety of items can be given to bird feeders. To add to the bluebirds’ nutrition at the feeders, think about providing: either live, dried, tinned, or roasted mealworms. fruits in small pieces, such pears or apples.

What kind of fruit do bluebirds eat?

fruits in small pieces, such pears or apples. Berries, such as raspberries and blackberries, whole or chopped. dried fruits that have been softened, including raisins, blueberries, cranberries, and currants.

What do you feed bluebirds in the winter?

They prefer regions where they may eat the fruits of red cedar, dogwood, hackberry, sumac, wild grape, poison ivy, and other plants because such foods make up the majority of their winter diet. The best bluebird feeders and feeding advice can be found here.


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Sarah Green

Wildlife and Nature Fan & Author