10 Birds that Love Eating Mealworms (With Photos)

Mealworms are an often overlooked superfood for bird feeding. If you haven’t added any to your feeding station, it’s worth experimenting with. A lot of birds primarily eat insects or include them in their diet. Adding mealworms to your feeders is an easy way to draw in more species.

I’ve been feeding the birds for years and find that they really like the addition of mealworms in the spring. I usually like to mix some in with bird seed in a tray feeder (pictured below), or buy live mealworms from my local Wild Bird Store.

For me, dried mealworms quickly become favorites for Chickadees and Nuthatches at my feeding station.

A Chipping Sparrow at a tray bird feeder full of white millet and mealworms.
I mixed mealworms with millet in the spring for the birds. Pictured here is a curious Chipping Sparrow.

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What Are Mealworms?

Mealworms are the larva of mealworm beetles. They’re a good source of protein and calcium, which is especially important for birds during the spring mating season. (Cornell Bird Lab). You can feed bids mealworms from a tray, hopper or specialized mealworm bird feeder.

You can either buy live mealworms from a local bird store near you, or you can buy dried mealworms at any bird store or from Amazon. For convenience sake, I usually order a pouch of Kaytee mealworms.

A bag of Kaytee dried mealworms that are available for sale on Amazon. Mealworms are great food for a ton of birds.
Click the link above or the picture to buy mealworms straight from Amazon. I usually do this for convenience.

I also experiment with buying fresh mealworms on occasion. These are more expensive but are like caviar for birds, they’re gone within a few hours at my feeders!

Mealworms are also often incorporated into bird feeder cylinders. Bird seed cylinders last a long time and appeal to a ton of different species ranging from Woodpeckers to Cardinals.

Related Content on Dan’s Bird Bites: The Ultimate Bird Seed and Bird Food Guide

What Birds Eat Mealworms?

American Robin (They prefer live mealworms)

Robins will eat live mealworms on occasion.
American Robins will happily eat live mealworms from a tray or ground feeder. Try putting them out near trees. Robins don’t visit feeding stations with regularity.

Black Capped Chickadees

Back-Capped Chickadees love eating mealworms - dried or alive!
Mealworms are like crack for my neighborhood Chickadees. They fly over and devour them on the spot, which is always fun to watch.

Downy Woodpeckers

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Downy Woodpeckers are regular visitors to bird feeders. They love eating mealworms, especially in cylinders.

Eastern Bluebirds (They prefer live mealworms)

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This is the holy grail of using mealworms for bird feeding. The North American Bluebird Society recommends buying only live mealworms for Bluebirds and using a specialized Bluebird mealworm feeder.

Hairy Woodpeckers

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Hairy Woodpeckers will snatch up mealworms at a bird feeding station. They also love suet and black oil sunflower seed.

Northern Cardinals

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Yes! Cardinals will happily eat mealworms, especially during the spring mating season. However, make sure to have sunflower seed out in some capacity for the greatest chance of alluring a neighborhood Cardinal.

Related Content: 5 Proven Ways to Attract Cardinals to a Feeder

Red-Breasted Nuthatch

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Nuthatches are fun, acrobatic visitors to bird feeders. Offering mealworms along with sunflower seed and suet is a great way to give them a buffet of options!

Tufted Titmice

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Titmice will eat a lot of what’s offered at bird feeding stations, mealworms included!

White-Breasted Nuthatch

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I love the White Breasted Nuthatches that visit my bird feeding station. They scale walls with ease and often eat upside down. Much like chickadees, mealworms get a rave responses from Nuthatches at my feeders.


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Wren’s primarily eat insects. So, mealworms are your best bet to get them visiting a feeding station. Try offering live mealworms during the spring nesting season. Good luck!