I noticed the first brood of house sparrows seemed to be down this year, probably due to the lack of insects. I've been buying maggots from my local tackle shop, blanching them with boiling water for 30 seconds (to kill and sterilise them - maggots can carry botulism) then putting them out for the birds. Sparrows from all over now know where they are, and are grabbing beakfuls to feed their babies. Starlings and robins seem to appreciate them too. I also put adult food out, working on the principle that the less time the adults have to spend looking for their own food, the more time they have to feed their babies.
My bird feeders are placed close to dense cover because there is a resident sparrowhawk in the area. She seems to show remarkable intelligence when it comes to hunting. She doesn't target one colony, but spreads her predation over a wide area, and she also appears to target only males, leaving the females to increase the colonies.
Good idea magwich
The young need fluids and insects are the only way they get it while in the nest
your maggots will help, thats why this time of year I soak my dried mealworms in water overnight
We don't recommend feeding maggots as a rule, live mealworms are better (you can create a mealwormery to keep stocks up). As Ray suggests dried mealworms can be soaked to give birds a protein and moisture rich food. It is indeed a good idea to keep up the feeding of sunflower hearts and other food for the adults to keep them fuelled up through the breeding season.
Hi Ian, what reason do you have for not recommending to feed maggots? I am very interested to know
I was wondering the same Grandpaddy but have since found this on the internet check out the second paragraph.
I thought the blanching in boiled water would have helped, not very nice for the maggots though
Fair question, and it is for the reasons stated on the link that Shane provided! We currently don't have any information about this on our own website, which we will look to address in the near future.
In the mean time, to be extra safe when feeding wild birds, mealworms are the way forward!