Energy values in various bird foods

Posted on January 29th, 2009 – 11:33 PM
By Jim Williams


We’re feeding mealworms to our yard birds this winter. Well, to the chickadees. They find them first and clean the plate. I was curious about this. Why do the chickadees feed on the worms so intently? After much Googling I found a Web site entitled “British Garden Birds.” It offers a table listing energy values for foods you might offer birds. Topping the list is suet at 800 calories per 100 grams. Sunflower hearts are next at 600, then peanuts at 560, sunflower seeds (in the shell, I assume) at 500, Niger thistle seed at 480, with mealworms last at 150 calories per 100 grams. The text on this site said that sunflower seeds are high in oil, mealworms high in protein. Perhaps that explains the preference the chickadees show. The worms, by the way, quickly freeze solid in cold weather, but the birds don’t mind. (In the photo, a White-breasted Nuthatch that managed to get in the meal worm line.)

3 Responses to "Energy values in various bird foods"

Jim P says:

January 31st, 2009 at 4:28 pm

We’ve had a flock of redpolls at our thistle feeder the last 3 days in West Bloomington. Today (1-31) we had what appeared to be a hoary redpoll at the same feeder. Is this unusual?

hewNeiliBuili says:

March 4th, 2009 at 5:03 pm

Last blog news about health and diet.