Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis) by Jeff Canada

Feeding a bluebird by hand. Photo by Jeff Canada.

I am often asked “how did you get into birding?’ There is a multi-part answer to that question, but a big part of it was having Eastern Bluebirds nest in my yard. After a little research, I put up a nest box in my small urban backyard and waited…and waited. It seemed like they would never come. And then it happened. One day, as I was watching my feeders through the window, a beautiful male Eastern Bluebird suddenly landed on the feeder! Seemingly out of nowhere! I jumped up and called my wife and left a frantic message filled with incredible excitement and joy. I was hooked!

A Bluebird’s diet mainly consists of insects, fruits and berries. They perch on wires, fence posts and low hanging branches in open country in search of food. They fly to the ground and pick up the food and often return to the same perch to eat their catch. They will sometimes come to feeders when mealworms are offered, but it is difficult to attract them to your yard with food, especially if they are not already in the area. The best way to attract Bluebirds to your yard is with a nest box. Another good way to attract them to your yard is with water, particularly moving water.

Eastern Bluebirds are beautiful birds with a gentle disposition and an absolutely splendid song. Males are a bright blue with a rust colored breast while the female is more of a grayish blue with a lighter shade of rust color on the breast. They naturally nest in cavities and will readily nest in man-made nest boxes as well. The male brings the female to the nest location and she chooses the one she prefers. Generally speaking, if the female enters a nest during their search for a nesting location, they will likely nest in that location. This includes nest boxes. Bluebirds normally lay 3-4 eggs and will sometimes have more than one brood in a season, so be sure to clean the nest box after each nesting cycle. If you plan to put up a nest box, you should have them up by the beginning of March. It is an absolute joy to watch these beautiful birds raise a family!

So, the next time you’re out at the park or even walking in your neighborhood, keep an eye out for Eastern Bluebirds. It’s impossible to see and/or hear an Eastern Bluebird and be in a bad mood at the same time!

You can find information on building and placing nest boxes, preferred locations and orientation, what habitats they prefer and much more at the links below.

North American Bluebird Society:

http://www.nabluebirdsociety.org/

All About Birds Eastern Bluebird Profile:

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Eastern_Bluebird/id/#_ga=2.222298393.386454197.1519096657-1976292245.1517261269

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