Thursday, February 12, 2009

Mm, mm, mm, mm, mm.......Tasty!!

I stopped at my local Wild Birds Unlimited store last Saturday to get some mealworms for my chickadees and wouldn't you know it, they had just sold the last worms on Friday. Crap! I finally have the chickadees coming back to the window feeder and I was almost to the end of the 100 worms my sissy had borrowed me a couple weeks ago. One of the store owners told me they were still having trouble getting mealworms--especially the large ones. I thought that problem from last summer was all over with, but apparently the mealworm shortages continue.

So anyway, after I got home, I headed to my favorite on-line mealworm store: New York Worms and decided to bite the bullet and purchase 1000 of these GIANT mealworms for my birdies. The package was waiting on the front step when we got home from work today and fortunately it was just warm enough that the worms hadn't frozen.

When I worked at WBU, I was the Goddess of Mealworms. We used to get our shipments in bulk and it was up to me to count out and weigh the 500's and 100's, feed them, and give them clean bedding. Believe it or not, I'm really not much of a "crawly bug" person, however mealworms aren't slimy like earthworms and once I got over the initial "oh yuck, I can't stand to touch worms" stage, I and the mealworms got along just fine. (Five years ago, this would NOT have been my hand holding this big gob of worms!)

My chickadees are going to be so happy when they see these big fat mealworms in their dish!

Don't Forget -- the Great Backyard Bird Count starts tomorrow!!


Marsha said...

My birdies have to be satisfied with seeds and suet because I could not stick my hand in that! Are you going to try and hand feed them again?

mon@rch said...

I remember raising them when I was in school! So glad the birdies are enjoying them! :)

Diane C. said...

Your chickadees are lucky! I kind of like the way those mealworms look, and probably wouldn't mind handling them, but I'm not sure if there are any chickadees where I live. I'll have to check it out.

Lynne said...

I'll bet your Chickadees would smack their lips if they had them!!

Kallen305 said...

OMG Ruthie!! You are one brave woman holding those. I would freak out!!! The birds are lucky to have someone as loving to the birds as you!

RuthieJ said...

LOL Marsha--Really, they aren't that bad and yes, I had the chickadee feeding from my hand last weekend (that's all the incentive I need to handle these worms!)

Hi Mon@rch,
I going to try raising some for myself too. Once orioles and bluebirds arrive, I really go through the worms pretty fast.

Hi Diane,
You might see the Mexican Chickadee or maybe the Mountain Chickadee, but lots of other birds love mealworms including wrens and bluebirds. Good luck!

No doubt Lynne!

You're right Kallen--they're kinda creepy if you're not used to them!

Mama Pea said...

We're lucky enough up here to have oodles of Chickadees. And as far as I know they've never seen a mealworm . . . unless they can find them in the 'wild' somewhere. I'm hoping they never hear that some people actually buy them and feed them out because it ain't gonna happen at this house. And I'd hate to think of my Chickadees being unhappy. :o)

P.S. You are SUCH a good bird mama, Ruthie.

Red said...

You know, I just have no desire to warm up to the worms. They would go straight from the box to the feeder if we had them... in fact, my stalker, er mom, can do it, lol!

Dana and Daisy said...

I could neveh!

Meggie said...

Those are lucky chickadees, indeed!

Anonymous said...

You'll want to check the NYW website to make sure the worms aren't the ones treated with growth hormones that render them sterile. I got some of them last year and it totally foiled my "raise your own" plans.

And for anyone who's never tried mealworms, give it a shot. They REALLY aren't that bad~~no pinchers, no slime, no bad smell, no jumping, and they move much slower than something ishy like a centipede (which I loath). Those things can make me scream like a little girl!
Your (bowling tournament-bound) sissy!!

Anonymous said...

Those mealworms are huge!!!! Did you count them to see if you got shorted any LOL.


Jaime said...

Well does that ever look like fun! My little guy would just love digging around in that big pile of worms.

And it's true. You really ARE a good bird mama. But please, don't start chewing them up first before you feed them to your little birdie babies, okay?

Gaelyn said...

Those birds will be happy.
I raised mealworms in elementary school. Seems they are very prolific.

Jayne said...

I haven't purchased any in a long while. I usually buy them during the bluebird's breeding time to augment food for the babies, but may need to swing by WBU and get some for the cup feeder I now have by the window. However, I don't want to really touch them like you are brave enough to do Ruthie!

Mary C said...

OK, Red - Mom (moi) cleans the litter boxes, urped hairballs, etc. and cleans all the bird feeders and can probably handle the worms (if we should ever purchase any). And you, my dear daughter, can continue to subcue the cats. To each his/her own. Ruthie, I hope you are enjoying counting birds today (Friday) since it's your day off.

troutbirder said...

Why that's certainly thoughtful for the Chickadees but hey seeing those worms make me think it's time to go fishing.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Mama Pea,
The most chickadees I've ever seen at one time in my yard is 4, so I'll do whatever it takes to keep them hanging around 'cuz they're just so darn cute!

Aw Red, come on--it's really FUN!

Hi Dana,
That's what I used to think too, but it's worth it when you get the chance to see a mama oriole feeding worms to her babies--right on the deck!

They sure are Meggie!

Thanks Sissy, for recommending the NYW website to me--otherwise I would never have known about GIANT mealworms.

Sorry Mom, I didn't count them, I was just happy to see they were alive after sitting on the front doorstep since the morning mail delivery.

Hi Jaime,
I think your little guy would love playing with these worms too!

I always think of that dumb TV show that used to be on where people had to eat worms like this--I know I could never do it!

Hi Gaelyn,
It would definitely be more economical to raise my own if I can do it. It would be nice to have a constant supply to feed my birds.

Hi Jayne,
I think the main reason a lot of people don't feed mealworms here in winter is because they freeze too fast. The chickadees don't seem to mind eating frozen worms though.

Hi Mary C,
A mother's work is never done, is it?

Hi Troutbirder,
Doesn't winter trout fishing open soon?

Windyridge said...

I'm generally not a squeamish person but just these worms and grubs make my skin crawl for some reason.

Larry said...

I just heard about some mealworms that you can buy that are dead by keep their moisture due to the packaging process allowed overseas.-The canning plants in the US are set up for people food and using the same plant for melworms wouldn't be allowed.-I wonder how the canned worms work.

Leedra said...

I don't think I could handle them. I read about people buying these for the Eastern Bluebirds too. My Bluebirds seem to be flourishing without me feeding them, so I am just going to let them flourish on their own. I am headed to bed, hope I don't dream about these things.

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