Most backyard birders will love to have bluebirds visiting their garden, however the job of attracting these adorable songbirds is trickier than most will imagine.
Well, the thing is, Bluebirds DO NOT eat bird seeds (no, they don’t, sadly enough!). The preferred diet of these little adorable thrushes include insects, worms, snails, grubs, mollusks, caterpillars, grasshoppers, ants, beetles, insect larvae and other invertebrates.
All through the summer months to early fall, they will gorge on this diet and it is only when the temperature begins to drop and the insect population comes down drastically, do the birds switch to berries or vine fruits such as cherries, grapes, etc.
For this reason, it is difficult to feed the bluebirds from a backyard feeding station. Though you can experiment a bit with dried fruits, diced berries or suet nuggets, etc. (especially during winter), typically during the summer months the only meal bluebirds will accept from feeders are mealworms—and that, too, live mealworms!
Not that they won’t accept freeze-dried mealworms, but for that to happen, you may need to train the birds a bit (such as by mixing live mealworms with dried ones). At the beginning, though, the live mealworms are apparently your only option if you want to attract bluebirds to your yard.
Due to this, the majority of the models included in our Top Bluebird Feeders list are designed for feeding mealworms. And a good thing is many of these models actually serve as multipurpose feeders. You can use them for feeding Bluebirds, but at different times, you may as well put bird seed and other foods in those feeders and attract a variety of other bird species.
Anyway, let’s get on with our list…
1Outdoor Birdfeeders for Bluebird
This is one of the all-time popular models when it comes to window feeders. And just what we were talking, this is one of those multi-purpose feeders, too. There are a lot of good things to say about this feeder. To begin with, the item comes with three powerful suction cups that will securely attach the feeder to your window (in fact, the manufacturers provide a “Lifetime Strongest Suction Cup Guarantee” with the model).
There are two separate compartments, so you can put birdseed, nuts, etc on one compartment to attract other birds and place live mealworms on the other exclusively for bluebirds. The plastic tray with raised edges ensures that the mealworms won’t be able to climb out of the feeder.
The model comes in an all-transparent design made of heavy duty, acrylic material that will hold its own in all weathers. The bottom tray also contains more than 60 drainage holes to keep the food fresh and dry. Since the trays are removable, this makes for easy cleaning. No need to take the whole feeder down for cleaning.
The only downside of this model as a bluebird feeder is that it doesn’t provide any extra protection for these small birds. And since mealworms are relished by a lot of other birds as well, including larger birds like starlings, bluebirds can get easily chased away from the feeder. Bluebirds are not of an aggressive nature at all and as such, they are more susceptible to bullying than many other birds.
Multipurpose feeder with heavy duty construction
Great overall design with drainage holes, removable trays, etc.
Lifetime suction cups warranty
No added protection for bluebirds
2Woodlink NABBFDR Audubon Dome Top Seed and Bluebird Feeder
This tray feeder with a dome top from Woodlink is one of our favorite models. It is another of those all-purpose models that you can use to feed bluebirds as well as other smaller birds such as finches, orioles, robins, etc. You can put a good quantity of mealworms, seed, fruits, suet nuggets, etc. inside the large tray. The smooth, dome-shaped overhang keeps snow or rain from reaching the tray.
A nice feature with the model is that you can slid the overhang down the metal rod at your desired height and clamp-secure it there. This feature is especially helpful when feeding bluebirds. Adjust the dome at a height that leaves enough space for bluebirds to reach the mealworms, but nor for larger birds. The smooth plastic tray also prevents the live mealworms to climb out of the tray.
Premium grade UV resistant polycarbonate construction, suitable for all weather
Transparent design helps bluebirds find the mealworms easily
Drainage holes at the bottom of the tray
If you’re using the model to feed a variety of other birds, the tray capacity may appear somewhat small.
3Erva Bluebird Feeder – Includes Meal Worm Cup
This one is our favorite if you are looking for a dedicated bluebird feeding model. The model is made of a specious round metal cage and inside, there is a small dish or tray that will hold about ½ cup of live or dried mealworms. The idea behind the model is that the small 1.5″ openings of the metal cage will let the bluebirds through but not the larger birds.
Once inside, the birds can gorge at their favorite food all safe and secure. The blue glass mealworm dish is securely attached to the model, so it won’t tip over. The dish is also easily removable and dishwasher safe. The feeder is highly durable with rust-proof, powder-coated metal top and bottom in a blue finish, fittingly complemented with the vinyl-coated wire mesh of the metal cage. And finally, you can again use the feeder to use smaller birds when the bluebirds are not around.
[A NOTE OF CAUTION: Some may complain that this model, as some of the others on our list, does not contain a large dish or tray. However, please keep it in mind that although bluebirds love live mealworms, the latter should not be their only or predominant food source. Mealworms DO NOT make for a balanced diet for bluebirds. Specifically, the mealworms lack calcium and this can cause bone issues for the birds, especially for the juveniles. So, even if you are regularly having bluebirds eating mealworms out of your yard, make sure that you do not feed them too much of it.]
Excellent starling and other large bird-proof design
Durable metal construction
With the metal cage and all, it might be a little difficult for bluebirds to find the mealworms kept inside the glass dish.
Somewhat expensive compared to most other models
4Kettle Moraine Cedar Post Mount Bluebird Mealworm Feeder
This one is arguably our most favorite thanks to its simple and highly functional design, solid wood construction and its affordable price. The model comes in a simple birdhouse design made all over with solid cedar. The front of the model contains a plexiglass viewing window that makes it easy for the birds to find the worms. There are two holes at both sides that are just large enough for a bluebird to make its way through. The hinged roof facilitates easy filling. You simply lift the roof and put in the mealworms when the box is empty. The model also looks nice as a backyard décor piece.
Durable, elegant looking solid wood construction
Made in USA (as, in fact, all Kettle Moraine products)
Keep out large and aggressive birds
Wood construction means live mealworms may climb up their way and out of the holes
Baby squirrels or chipmunks can get through the holes
5Birds Choice BBFF Bluebird Flower Feeder
If you want an ornamental piece which is more decorative than functional, you may consider this model. The attractive, predominantly blue-accented design with a heart-shaped jewel at the top may attract the bluebirds. The feeding cup also sports an elegant flower design. We like the minimalist design of this item and bluebirds shouldn’t have any problem feeding from this either. However, the same goes for larger birds that love mealworms, too!
Elegant, minimalist design
Easy to hang, fill and clean
No protection for bluebirds
The tray made of cheap plastic; so, apparently won’t last long
6Birds Choice Bluebird Mealworm Feeder
In stark contrast to the previous model, this one is a heavy duty, highly functional model (also from Birds Choice) that will last long. Designed to mount from a pole, this birdhouse model feeder is made of sturdy, recycled plastic material. The front and back contains plexiglass fittings for purposes of easy visibility. The large sloping roof provides ample protection for the food and the rest of the feeder. There are six access holes for the birds—four at the front and back and two at the sides.
Slick plastic construction makes difficult for mealworms to get out of the feeder
Heavy duty construction suitable for year round use
Easy visibility, large capacity and adequate access points for the birds
No hanging adapter or other apparatus included with the model
7Outside Fun Charming Cedar Wood Deluxe – Bird House Feeder
If you ever wanted a truly MULTIPURPOSE FEEDER, this one is it! This birdhouse-type feeder includes a tube mesh feeder; a plastic tube cardinal feeder; a suet basket on one side and another wire mesh feeding space adjusted on the other; a plastic bowl (to be filled with water, seeds, mealworms, just as you wish!); and finally, a small-ish tray compartment at the bottom. The main body and roof of the birdhouse are constructed of sweetly-scented Chinese cedar that prevents fungus and rot and repels insects and pests and as such, great for use at all seasons.
If you want to feed bluebirds out of this feeder, put the mealworms inside the bowl instead of the tray. The live mealworms easily climb their way out of the small wooden tray.
A whole variety of feeder designs packed into one
Solid Chinese cedar construction
Not a dedicated bluebird feeder
The bowl for mealworms made of cheap plastic and not of glass
8Tenforie Bird Feeder House for Outside Hanging
This beautifully handcrafted tray birdhouse with multiple accents will be the focal point for your yard. Cedar/pine shingles and exterior grade plywood ensure good construction and durability. The tray at the bottom can be filled with a variety of bird foods while you can put mealworms inside the birdhouse that contains a small flower-shaped hole at the front. Besides serving as a decorative but functional feeding platform, the birdhouse will also provide small birds shelter from cold, predators, etc.
Elegant, rustic design with beautiful details
Durable and functional
Acts as a bird shelter as well
According to some users, the colors from the details start to flake off after some time
9Sunnydaze Mosaic Glass Bluebird Outdoor Hanging Feeder
Well, some may find it a bit misleading that this feeder found its way among our Top Bluebird Feeders list since the model is really a hummingbird feeder. However, our guess was that if you really love bluebirds, you may want to give this highly decorative model a try. The model is quite idiosyncratic even for a hummingbird nectar feeder, but all the same it is difficult to not get attracted to this model made of a glass reservoir with mosaic pattern that resemble a bluebird.
Beautiful, bluebird-inspired decorative model
Backed with a 1-year warrantee
Not a bluebird feeder at all, but a hummingbird nectar feeder!
10C&S Products Company 428179 Bluebird Feeder 1
Another birdhouse model with durable wood and plexiglass construction. Thick, large roof fitted with a long, gold-coated metal chain for hanging. The front and back are fitted with plexiglass screens for easy viewing while the sides contain two holes for the bluebirds to get in.
Dedicated bluebird feeder
Durable construction fit for all weather
Large capacity; ideal if you have a flock of bluebirds visiting your yard
Not the best of craftsmanship, the model looks somewhat rugged and unfinished
Bluebird Selection Tips
Bluebirds are wonderful members of the avian family. They are so well-loved that many people wax poetic about these little birds, immortalizing them in song and prose. With their magnificent blue color and their delightful songs, bluebirds have long been a sight to behold, especially on cold days. They are harbingers of springtime as well, flitting in and out of trees to mate, nest, and look for food. Attracting bluebirds to your garden is fairly easy with the proper setup and the right environment. If you start with the right feeder, you are well on your way.
Selecting a Bluebird Feeder
The right bluebird feeder will not only attract bluebirds, it will also encourage them to keep coming back. When choosing a feeder, here are some things to look for.
Bluebird feeders available in stores today are generally made from one or a combination of plastic and metal. A few designs may include materials such as wood, glass or even ceramic. Plastic and metal are two of the more popular types of materials to look for when selecting a bluebird feeder because they tend to be lightweight and affordable. Plastic and metal feeders also come in many designs due to the flexibility of the material, which means there are plenty of options to choose from.
The design of the bluebird feeder should allow sufficient access to the feed and ease of cleaning and feed replenishment. If you live in an area where the feeder may attract other small creatures such as rats, mice, and squirrels, choose a feeder design that prevents access by these animals but allows birds to feed unhampered.
Sturdy and durable feeders will last several years and provide nourishment to visiting bluebirds. Check the make and material of the feeder, particularly the edges and the areas where two or more components come together. They should be solid and smooth, without sharp edges. Components must also fit together well. Look for a feeder that is well-made and sturdy enough to withstand the weight of several birds who might perch on it at the same time.
A good bluebird feeder must be built to ensure that the food kept therein stays dry and safe to eat. If your feeder is exposed to the elements and not cleaned regularly, any leftover food might become soaked if it rains. Many bluebird feeders are designed with a tiny roof or dome to protect the food within and still give access to the bluebirds when they feed. Consider this design element if you intend to install the feeder in a location that could expose it to the sun and rain.
Types of Bluebird Feeders
There are several types of bluebird feeders to choose from. These are:
Tray Feeders – trays that can be hung from a branch or beam. Tray feeders attract birds readily because these trays offer free access to the food. The birds can come and go unhindered and they can perch on the sides to eat. Tray feeders also let you offer a variety of food to give the birds many delicious choices. These can be hung easily and could be accessorized with a dome or slanted roof to protect the feed from bad weather.
Suet Feeders – are feeders designed to provide bluebirds with much-needed protein. Suet is kept in a cage-like compartment, allowing birds to reach the feed. The compartment keeps the suet block in place while the birds eat. Suet feeders are easy to clean and keep the suet aerated. These are often made up of coated metal to prevent corrosion.
Mealworm Feeders – are typically shaped like bowls or deep plates with smooth interior sides to prevent live mealworms from escaping. Bluebirds love mealworms and these are great sources of protein for them. Mealworm feeders are generally shallow, with enough depth to contain a good amount of the feed. The feeder itself is typically made of glass or plastic, while the hanging implement is generally made of metal. Some models are designed with perches to allow bluebirds to feed comfortably.
Hopper Feeders – are feeders that consist of an enclosed feed container and a perch for birds while they eat. The container may either be a cylinder/tube shape or a cube. Since the container is enclosed, it helps prevent access to the feed by squirrels and rodents but allows bluebirds to eat.
Fruit Feeders – are basic feeders that feature a container to hold fruit slices in place. Fruit feeders offer bluebirds extra nourishment especially during the winter when insects and worms are scarce.
Top Bluebird Feeder Brands
There are many bluebird feeder brands to choose from but the current leaders that produce topnotch quality feeders include:
– Stokes (well-made, sturdy, and easy to install units)
– Birds Choice (a favorite for many bird lovers)
– Erva (they make well-built feeders with good and sturdy designs)
– Droll Yankees (for a variety of design options)
Average Bluebird Feeder Pricing
Raised bluebird feeders range in price from a low of around $20 to about $90, while hanging feeders can go as high as $65. These are the commercial, mass-produced feeders that are often found in stores and pet shops. On average, you could purchase a sturdy, reliable bluebird feeder for under $40.
If you want to splurge, however, you will find bluebird feeders that carry much higher price tags. These are customized feeders that use more expensive (sometimes recycled) materials and feature fun designs that can easily go over a hundred dollars. Ultimately, the goal is to find a feeder that offers good value in terms of quality, stability, and price.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I attract bluebirds to my feeder?
There are two key elements to enticing bluebirds to come and feed. First is the type of feeder. When selecting a bluebird feeder, consider the needs of the birds based on their habitat and activity level. If your environment attracts bigger birds, you might also consider selecting a bluebird feeder that discourages larger birds so bluebirds feel safe to hang around your backyard.
Next is the type of feed you offer, which would depend on the season. Bluebirds prefer insects throughout the year whenever they are available. However, they would feed on fruits if insects cannot be found during the cold months. They do not do well with bird seeds, however. To give you an idea of what bluebirds like, their diet in the wild consists mostly of crickets, termites, beetles, moths, mosquitoes, grasshoppers, caterpillars, mollusks, and a variety of grubs and insect larvae. They also love berries, cherries, oranges, and grapes.
To attract bluebirds, entice them with live or dried mealworms, sliced/diced fresh fruits, and dried fruits such as raisins, cranberries, and blueberries. Offer them suet as well, whole, diced or shredded. If you are knowledgeable about the bluebird diet, you could even make your customized suet formula blend.
Provide an environment where bluebirds feel safe and comfortable. Avoid making loud noises in your yard and try to discourage larger birds that might attack smaller ones. Always clean the feeder in-between refills to keep it hygienic and prevent the growth of harmful microorganisms.
Where is the best place to hang a bluebird feeder?
The best location for a bluebird feeder is in an open area where birds can freely come and go as they please. Try to avoid hanging the feeder next to a wall or fence. Bluebirds, like most small birds, do not like to feel threatened or surprised. Once they find that your feeder is in a location where they can safely go to feed, they will come back to it on their own.
How do you clean a bluebird feeder?
For most feeder designs, simply lift the tray or bowl, discard any leftover feeder, then wash the container with dishwashing soap and water. Dry the container thoroughly before refilling it. If pieces of feed are trapped in the feeder, use a brush with soap and water. If the feeder is made of wood, you can wipe off the interior with a sanitary wipe or wash it with mild/unscented soap and water. Rinse thoroughly, then dry off completely. Every few years or so, you can coat the exterior of the wood feeder with a water-soluble wood sealer or oil for added protection. Do not coat the interior to avoid contaminating the food.
Will bluebirds eat dried mealworms?
In general, mealworms are most palatable for birds when they are fed live. However, some bluebirds will readily consume dried mealworms, while others will eat roasted ones. Live mealworms are preferred because they are a good source of fat. If only good quality dried mealworms are available, try feeding them to the birds. If they do not take a bite, try serving mealworms mixed with suet. Do not serve mealworms that have already died and turned black. Birds will either reject it or get sick from consuming it.
What do bluebirds eat in the winter?
As mentioned earlier, bluebirds love insects and they would prefer to consume these all year round. In winter, however, insect populations above ground decline due to weather conditions. Since insects are hard to come by during winter, bluebirds consume fruits and berries instead. You could also provide them with much-needed protein by offering suet and mealworms in their feeder.