Thursday, January 14, 2010

"...more mealworms, please!" said the Carolina Wren.

The first time I opened a big container of mealworms, I have to admit I was a bit "unnerved" through fear! There were hundreds and hundreds of these amber-colored segmented wormy things with tiny little legs at the front of their bodies and creepy, squiggly looking mouth parts at their tip, but I got over that soon enough, and now they don't phase me--especially because I know our resident Carolina Wren loves them, loves them, can't live without them. She has made them her favorite, so now they are mine too.

I almost put a closeup of the crunchy freeze-dried delights right here, but refrained in case any of the uninitiated were still a bit squeamish a the sight of hundreds of their wormy little bodies. As you can see, our little Carolina Wren is not one bit squeamish...

...demonstrating the proper way to eat a mealworm--shake it into submission and gobble it down!

"...I just adore the heads and save them for last."

"...hmmm....mealworm or blueberry, mealworm or blueberry..." (The mealworm won.)

"...more mealworms, please...and could you put a move on--it's cold out here!"

p.s. Mealworms are the larva form of the mealworm beetle, Tenebrio molitor, which is a type of darkling beetle. Apparently you can grow these things on your own fairly easily so you can always have fresh on hand (oh boy...talk about unnerving!). I might have to look into that this summer...can you imagine?? Click here for a link on raising mealworms on your own.

39 comments:

Roy said...

Hmmm... I think I'd choose the Blueberry instead. Heh, heh!

I think I'll pass on raising my own mealworms; there's enough wildlife around here as it is - moths especially!

Really nice shots of the Wren!

Renee said...

Gahhhh - I seriously thought of getting mealworms when I had my Bluebirds this past summer but just couldn't bring myself to do it. I have enough animals in my house without considering adding 1,000 more critters. It was the thought of having to 'keep' them that made me say.... PASS!

The Early Birder said...

Natural food..lovely grub! Very common food supplement over here, especially during the breeding season for the youngsters.
Somebody I know is not keen to see them stored in the fridge!!

Cindy said...

Very pretty bird. I'm sure they're quite tasty to the Carolina Wren but I'd have to choose the Blueberry too! Not much on worms of any kind. I can't even put one on a fishing hook. Give me bologna and I'm fine.

Great post Kelly. Have a wonderful Friday.

Cindy

Laure Ferlita said...

Love, love, love those sweet wren shots - even eating icky worms!!! ;•)

Amy said...

Very cute series! I wish Carolina Wrens were common here. I don't know if our birds would appreciate mealworms, but I want to try some day!

Adrienne in Ohio said...

Carolina wrens are the first birds I had to eat the mealworms. I use the live ones with great success. The woodpeckers and blue jays gobble them up as well. They aren't too squirmy unless I let them sit out of the fridge too long.

Wanda said...

I guess I could deal with freeze-dried mealworms easier than live ones, espesially since Carolina Wrens are my favorite little bird!

Dave Lewis said...

Excellent photos! I haven't seen any Carolina Wrens so far this winter...nor have I seen any meal worms, thank you.

Gabrielle said...

Wow, these are great photos! I just love Carolina wrens.

When I was working at a science museum, we had a female mallard "on staff" who loved mealworms. If any of us were even remotely close to the mealworm tank, she'd come waddling as fast as her little webbed feet would carry her, quacking all the way, and then nip at our ankles until we gave her a treat. She was so darn cute that I quickly overcame any hesitancy about the mealworms. I miss that duck.

Elaine said...

The Carolina Wren is such a cute little bird. We don't get them here in Interior Alaska, so I enjoyed your story and photos. Those mealworms look so yummy--NOT! Hmmm, you're getting cute little wrens at your feeders, and I'm getting moose. I must be doing something wrong......

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Awgh Kelly... I need to buy some for my Bluebirds and Carolina Wrens---but can't get up the nerve to do it. Where do you buy yours????? Makes me shiver just thinking about them...

Great pictures of the Carolina Wren. They are such cute birds.
Hugs,
Betsy

Kitty said...

The robins in the garden go wild for mealworms - they're even tempted unto the window feeder by them! But mealworms are gross - the tub of freeze-dried ones we got contained some that were still alive. Ugh! But yes, seeing how much the birds adore them, makes them less disgusting :)

Midmarsh John said...

A great series of photos. I try to keep in a supply of dried mealworms as so many birds, and our hedgehogs, love them. I do draw the line at live ones though.

Jayne said...

I'll purchase them occasionally as a treat, but don't care to grow those buggers myself...lol!

Roy said...

Lovely images Kelly.
There have been reports about our Wren during the recent bad weather, where they have been crowding into nest boxes in many numbers (15 to 20) to keep warm.

Wren said...

I'm in favor of mealworms, thank you very much! Anything that's good for wrens ... and such a cute little one in your photo. My namesakes have personality and then some, don't they?

RuthieJ said...

I used to be really squeamish about mealworms too until I became the Mistress of Mealworms when I worked at Wild Birds Unlimited for a few years.
I don't think there's anything that little birdies like better! Now you can work on getting that sweet little wren to take mealworms from your hand! That's what I used to lure the chickadees into eating out of my hand because they just love those worms more than they fear you!

Montanagirl said...

What a cute little bird. I wonder how many of those wormies can be consumed in a day?

holdingmoments said...

Great pictures Kelly. So like our little Wren over here.

Mary said...

The photos are adorable and I really should get some for my wrens and bluebirds. I knew a friend who raised them and she offered me her operation when she had to move, but the bugs just grossed me out. She did say it was fairly easy to raise them. I did a post on it last year.

shortoldlady said...

Thank you for sharing the lovely photos and information! What do you put the worms out in? A feeder or scattered on the ground?

oldcrow61 said...

The bird obviously likes the treat, lol. Great shots.

Chad said...

First of all, I love the new header... very cool. Secondly, neat post about the Wren and his enjoyment of your food offerings. I wish I lived in an area that I was able to offer these treats! You are a great friend to the birds!

Paula said...

The wren photos are wonderful! What acute little bird that I have yet to add to my list!!!

√ Abraham Lincoln said...

Mealworms really work well with other bird seed in the spring. I used to add them and found a bigger variety of birds gathered to eat.

Warren Baker said...

Great Wren Photo's Kelly. He/she will certainly survive the winter on those worms. Well done for helping out the winged wonders!

Tammie Lee said...

I also find it hard to feed living critters to living critters, unnerving indeed. Your photos are wonderful captures of the little wren.

Baby Birder said...

I grow my own mealworms (I have a leopard gecko who eats them, but love feeding them to the wrens and woodpeckers too!) I have a small plastic office supply container with three drawers in it, the bottom one has mealworms with powdered milk, wheat flour, and potato slices, the middle drawer has the intermediate stage ones, and the top has beetles, wheat flour, and potato slices. every month or so, i take the castings from the top drawer and pour it in the bottom one so all the tiny mealworms and eggs get into the mealworm drawer. very easy, and not too messy, self contained! I'll try to do a post on it soon, and I'll post a link for you in case you're interested.

Chris Petrak said...

Your post is the second one I have read about the CAWR - I had two in my yard for a couple of months last year early winter, then they disappeared. My favorite wren - unless a house wren in nearby - or I'm in a marsh - or hear the tumbling notes of a winter or - you get the idea.

Gaina said...

What a lovely little bird! Very much like our English Wrens, only a bit more of an orange tint :).

I'd like to feed live mealworms but mum's not having any of that - I've only just managed to convince her that the freeze dried ones won't come back to life when you soak them in warm water! *rofl*

ShySongbird said...

Lovely photos again, Kelly. It looks very much like our Wren, not an easy bird to photograph, I find.

I feed the birds the dried mealworms but am tempted by the live ones, well, not me personally, you understand!!! but on the birds behalf :) But I'm not sure I'm brave enough to handle them!

Heather said...

Sweet, sweet Wren. Okay, I've got mealworms in my fridge that have been there since LAST winter. My birds were not particularly interested in them last year, but I also didn't have any wrens last year. I need to try again this year. Maybe tomorrow, if the rain doesn't splash them all away.

HBFG said...

Oh what a treat! I would have no problem by growing them myself. Great idea!

Steve Borichevsky said...

That's one way to get a wren to stay still long enough for a shot.

Carol Mattingly said...

Love these photos and the post. It's so fantastic. Keep sharing. Carol

TonyC said...

Great shots Kelly!! Love the close up!! What a cute little bird.

Kerri said...

Love these litle birds!!

E said...

You are very brave, great pics, lovely colors, lovely birds. Hugs.