Eastern bluebirds are primarily found east of the Rockies, and range from Canada to Mexico and Honduras. They are much admired for their lovely coloring and. An eastern bluebird perches on a branch, patiently watching the ground below. Suddenly it spots a beetle. The bird spreads its bright blue wings, flies to the. The bluebirds are a group of medium-sized, mostly insectivorous or omnivorous birds in the order of Passerines in the genus Sialia of the thrush family.
The 's saw the first efforts to help bluebirds. A man by the name of Thomas Musselman originated the idea of a "Bluebird Trail" in which many nesting boxes were erected and monitored along a long trail. His first trail in Adams County Illinois consisted of over 1, nest boxes.
The groundswell of interest in bluebird conservation gradually built up until the 's when Lawrence Zeleny wrote the landmark book The Bluebird: Happily, bluebird numbers have been showing healthy improvement over the last 15 years in many areas of North America thanks to the efforts of thousands of people just like you!
The Bluebird can migrate within this range, often going southward in numbers during the late Fall and Winter months. However, in recent years, the Eastern Bluebird has been expanding it's year-around range northward. Within Michigan the Bluebird is now a common resident in most southern counties throughout the year. Very faint black and white barring appears in the wing primaries.
The throat and breast are rust, with a small white patch at the chin. The rust color continues down the sides under the wings, but the belly is white. The bill, eyes, and feet are black. A very faint white lower eye ring is not easily visible.
The female's front and wing markings are similar, but her blue is quite pale, a gray-blue on the head and back. The posture while sitting is usually hunched, the legs not outstretched.
Juveniles are spotted in typical thrush pattern, molting into adult plumage in the fall. Unlike tree swallows, bluebirds are not aerial feeders; they must be able to see their insect food on or near the ground.
Although they sometimes beat low vegetation with their wings to scare up insects, a more typical feeding pattern is that of perching on a utility line, snag, or exposed tree limb. Watching the ground, darting down to the ground or dirt road to catch their prey, then either quickly returning to the perch to eat or flying to the nest to feed their young. Occasionally, the parent will bring wild fruit such as pin cherries, chokecherries, or raspberries to the nestlings in Spring and Summer, but the primary food has to be protein.
In the Fall, bluebirds diets start to shift over to natural berries as insect supplies diminish. When bluebirds winter over in northern areas, these berries are what bluebirds will survive on. They will sometimes eat from feeders if food is in short supply. You can plant berry-producing trees and shrubs that will attract bluebirds.
See our section on bluebird gardening. Also, you can feed bluebirds using regular tray type bird feeders. Their favorite foods include meal worms, crumbled up suet, cornmeal, and sunflower hearts or chips. See our page on Feeding bluebirds for more information. Bluebirds require fairly open habitats consisting of large, short grassy areas. Some scattered trees or perching spots like telephone wires or fences are also important since bluebirds like to use these for vantage points to hunt for insects.
Bluebirds usually require from 1 to 2 acres of open territory around their nesting site in order to find enough food to raise their young. This doesn't mean that you need to have this much space in your yard to attract bluebirds. It just means that between your yard and the adjoining properties close to the nesting box, there is this much space. Good types of locations for bluebird boxes include pastures, meadows, church yards, business parks, public recreational parks, golf courses, and farm fields.
Areas which are NOT good habitats include subdivisions with small lots, densely populated suburbs, heavily wooded neighborhoods, and urban areas. Depending on whether they migrate or not, bluebirds can begin scouting out possible nesting sites as early as January in Michigan. But, more typically, this will occur in February into early March, depending on how cold the weather is.
This is not uncommon as they are looking at different nesting sites and changing weather conditions dictate where they search for food. At some point though, a pair of bluebirds will choose a nest box and be seen sitting on or near it regularly. Bluebirds will sing sporadically during this time period, but not necessarily when they are sitting on top of a nest box.
It's more common to see them singing from atop a tree. Nest building will commence as the weather gets more mild in the later part of March or early April. Bluebirds build a nest of all grass, tightly woven into a neat, round nest which fills the bottom of the nest box. You may observe a number of courtship displays including the male AND female going into the nest box, the male feeding the female, wing-waving displays by the male, and the male diving toward the female randomly.
Eventually, this all will lead to a completed nest and the beginning of egg-laying. Bluebirds will start laying eggs in April at the earliest in Michigan, and may be several weeks later in the northern part of the state compared to the southern areas. The most common numbers are 4 to 6. A small percentage of bluebird eggs are white, but this doesn't seem to affect hatching rates. The female will start sitting on the eggs once ALL the eggs are laid.
They kill bluebirds and tree swallows on the nest. The next generation needs something to be amazed by. I'm trying to create biodiversity. I hadn't seen one since the 60s. They are so fascinating and fun to watch and the flashes of blue and their song really lifts my spirits. Birds are, perhaps, the most eloquent expression of reality. His motives do stir my curiousity, but his actions spur mine. I think we both really feel pleased and proud each time we see bluebirds here because we feel they might be our babies, our bluebirds that we've helped.
I don't think that people in every corner of the continent should blindly follow my recommendations But I've also felt good for the successes. Guess what it boils down to is doing our best, accepting the worst, and never giving up in trying to improve. It is the direct result of widespread action by sympathetic bird lovers who pledged their help and followed through. John Burroughs, The Bluebird, In flight the bluebirds are very charming at this time of year; a leisurely flip of the wing carries them along silently with just enough momentum to keep them afloat in the air, and they often sail for a long way, drifting along with open wings.
Tyler, quoted in A. Bent's Life History of Familiar North American Birds, In my many years of monitoring, I have "taken over" the care of boxes in many different places and circumstances.
In almost every case Once the paper wasps, rodents, House Wrens, House Sparrows, etc. The bird is generally a mere disembodied voice; a rumor in the air for two or three days before it takes visible shape before you. One is sure to hear a bluebird several times before one sees it Shute, The Real Diary of the Worst Farmer, I invested a nice sum of money into an official bluebird house that my husband and I have nicknamed the Hilton, [the bluebirds] chose to build their nest in a very old box used by countless other birds over the years that we've nicknamed Motel 6.
No wonder the bird has become the symbol for happiness. Before the farmer begins to plough the wet earth, often while snow is still on the ground, this hardy little minstrel is making himself very much at home in our orchards and gardens while waiting for a mate to arrive from the South. After all, who has ever seen a bluebird, except perhaps on the cover of a greeting card? Trenet, I worry and worry and ring my hands Afraid something may go wrong With my complex and important plans For you see I am an observer of the bird And a second cousin to a paranoid nerd.
House Sparrows are not real birds - they are little beasts! Compared to what they must going through, I feel like I do little. I feel priviledged to have a connection with them. O'er it, as I looked, there flew across the waters, cold and still, a bird whose wings were palest blue. The sky above was blue at last, the sky beneath me blue in blue.
A moment ere the bird had passed, it caught the image as he flew. Stanford, The Blue Bird I'm a bluebird, I'm a bluebird Adams, Sialia, Life is certainly not just black and white. It is also many shades of gray. And brown and green and um Joplin, Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.
Like a bluebird with his heart removed, lonely as a train, I've run just as far as I can run. She can't tell you why. Deep within her heart, you see, she knows only crying. There she sits, aloft at perch. Flying is forgotten now. Thinks only of you. Soon she's going to fly away. Sadness is her own. Reverse of a death of tears and go home, and go home. It is indeed "good-bye to summer" when the bluebirds withdraw their touch of brightness from the dreary November landscape at the north to whirl through the southern woods and feed on the waxy berries of the mistletoe.
I like to slip off checking nestboxes along sleepy country backroads stopping here and there to "hear" the morning and life more clearly. The male usually arrives a few days ahead of the female, selects what he considers to be a suitable summer home, and carols his sweetest, most seductive notes day after day until she appears in answer to his call. Bent, Life History of Familiar North American Birds, The male is hilarious and demonstrative, the female serious and anxious about her charge.
If his life is all poetry and romance, hers is all business and prose. She shows no affection for the male, no pleasure in his society; she only tolerates him as a necessary evil, and, if he is killed, goes in quest of another in the most business-like manner, as you would go for the plumber or the glazier. In most cases the male is the ornamental partner in the firm, and contributes little of the working capital.
With the bluebirds the male is useful as well as ornamental. He is the gay champion and escort of the female at all times, and while she is sitting he feeds her regularly. It is very pretty to watch them building their nest. The rest of them just enjoy them for what they are. Kruer, Many of the birds go south cheerfully, indifferently, but the bluebirds seem to linger sadly and lovingly, and to feel that the migration is an enforced exile from the home they love best.
You've never heard, so never miss, a plaintive bluebird sing. But more than birds, entire worlds, have fled upon the wing. It is only this kind of human intervention which will cause bluebirds to survive in an increasingly competitive natural world. Very few have the narrow tolerance of the ivory-billed woodpecker or the Bachman's warbler. There he lay like a bit of sky fallen upon the grass. House Sparrows, European Starlings and pigeons.
Although scientists are too spineless these days to divide the natural world into good and bad animals, I'm here to tell you that these are bad birds. They have unappealing songs. They are not native to America. Hints of fuzz where feathers will grow are visible. How do such ungainly, scrawny little creatures ever acquire such phenomenal beauty? I wondered how bluebirds could possibly survive as a species without human help. Putting up a box is interfering with nature.
With that intervention comes responsibility. People of course come first. Really, there are too many. But they are for bluebirds, and there can never be too many bluebirds. Just when you think you can make sweeping statements, an exception seems to "pop up. Others will eventually find out what works best for them on theirs! We need to continuously show others the miracle of nature and how they can help and make a difference "One Nestbox at a Time".
We often never know how and when we make a difference. We have a higher mission - to be of service to them whenever they require it. When winter begins to yield at last to the warming touch of the returning sun; when several days of clearing skies and southerly breezes have loosened the ice-fettered streams, drawn the frost from the ground, and given a balmy tang to the air; and when all nature seems in an expectant mood, vibrant with a new hope and a new promise--the Bluebird returns Its soft, pleasing warble, like the gentle murmur of a flowing brook in soothing cadence, awakens a sense of well-being and content in each responsive listener.
Clyde Todd, Of all the various out-door recreations I have tried, when it comes to genuine, exciting sport, give me hunting with a camera And as we Bluebirders know all to well, a half-hearted effort is probably more harmful than no effort at all.
Grant, Our Common Birds and How to Know Them, One major lesson that I keep learning again is that conditions vary throughout the continent, and that there are very few "rules" which apply equally in every area. Or always - Dottie Roseboom and Kathy Clark, Out in the open country on clear days with a northwest wind, we often hear their sad farewell notes drifting down around us from all directions Bent, Over increasingly large areas of the United States, spring now comes unheralded by the return of the birds, and the early mornings are strangely silent where once they were filled with the beauty of bird song.
Wonderfully prolific, having the vast forests of the North as its breeding grounds, traveling hundreds of miles in search of food, it is here today and elsewhere tomorrow, and no ordinary destruction can lessen them, or be missed from the myriads that are yearly produced. The last known representative of the species -- named Martha -- died in captivity in the Cincinnati Zoo on September 1, People who are willing to spend the money or take the time to build good nestboxes, install mounting poles, guards and THEN take the time to monitor and learn even more about the lives of these birds are EXTRA special human beings.
I'm serious, it was a religious experience. The unfortunate youngsters landed on the ground where a prowling cat was poised for action. Thank goodness for healthy obsessions!! When asked how this could possibly make a difference, he said "It makes a difference to this one! So lift up your head to the skies And be happy For this is true: Somewhere the bluebird is singing And winging his way to you. Somewhere over the rainbow, bluebirds fly.
Birds fly over the rainbow, why, then oh why can't I? Harburg, Over the Rainbow, from the film Wizard of Oz, "Some days I'm not sure which has changed my life more, the people or the birds. I've made some of my very best friends thanks to bluebirds.
Some of my most cherished experiences are with people helping birds or with people whose lives have been touched by the birds.
Because I'd rather have a dead sparrow than a dead bluebird. Not loud and boastful like the mocker; not full of chatter like the purple martin. The bluebird song is a kind and personal "I love you" that one must be close and quiet to hear. I feast on bugs until late fall Then catch them less and less.
Soon winter comes with snow and ice And winds all in a flurry. The bugs are gone, but in their place, a berry February! Ashbrook, The Green Book of Birds of America, Take care of the wee blue birds who chose to join your family as best you can. Rejoice when you see babies fledging and splashing in a birdbath.
Grieve when a clutch fails or one dies. In time, that will happen no matter how hard you try to protect them. When disaster strikes, take a moment to count the number that you added to the enjoyment of not just yourself but everyone else who sees flashes of blue. Encyclopedia Americana, The story of the bluebird's trials is a poignant one, beautiful enough to make you weep. Reflection 54, Aphorisms and Reflections, selected by Henrietta A.
The basic rules for studying nesting birds, therefore, are as follows: As a crowning misfortune, imported non-migrant birds monopolized his favorite nesting places; upon his return one spring, not a shadow of a lodging could be found. All the natural and manmade cavities had been taken. If he did discover one, more often than not he could not see the brood safely through: She flew full speed for three hours.
The glorious way to spend it is to add plants and wildlife that will have ripple effects far beyond our lives. The reality is that NO matter how many bluebirds you raise in a region there are only so many spots for them to breed in and EVERYDAY the area gets cut down smaller one tree at a time, one cubic yard of cement or asphalt at a time.
I guess it could be compared to Forrest Gump's box of chocolates - when you open a nestbox, you don't know exactly what you're going to get - Robert Peak, LBL Association, There IS something to be said for having the Blues depart for the winter. Nothing beats the excitement of seeing them in the spring for the first time.
It has a glabrous epiderm. I peck it 'til it's good and dead, And pulp it up, and smash its head, Then feed my chicks and go to bed. Burdett, self-designated Poet Laureate of Sunapee NH, The ultimate test of man's conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard.
If for instance, you were watching rabbits, you would get upset if an owl came and took one or all the baby bunnies, but if on the other hand you are watching an owl box then you are happy when the owl returns from a hunt with a bunny. Our basic policy is to watch, not interfere. A box that is hard to monitor is probably not going to be monitored regularly. They come and go at will, they accept our offerings of food, water, and shelter, and give us trust and a heart full of joy when they grace an otherwise dreary day.
The next thing you know, you've got a nest in your box. And you never saw a thing. Be patient, and nature will take care of the rest. PS If you weren't a" bluebird neurotic" you wouldn't be here. MOST of the time you cannot even answer a question with four multiple choice answers. We should all enjoy these debates or exchanges of opinions and be willing to experiment and contribute to the knowledge we all seek.
Schuyler Mathews, Thou first sky-dipped spring-bud of song, Whose heavenly ecstasy Foretells the May while yet March winds are strong The feathers were scattered around the cat dish still filled with food.
Ashbrook, The Green Book of Birds of America, Transparency is all about letting in and embracing new ideas, new technology and new approaches. No individual, entity or agency, no matter how smart, how old, or how experienced, can afford to stop learning. You cannot expect to have pretty yard if you only mow it once a year. You clean out the HOSP and the bluebirds fly into the vacuum. Out wit and out last and you win. People slip away, but then maybe, just maybe, some part of them is conserved and finds a way into something living around us.
What other explanation is there for suddenly seeing bluebirds, a favorite of the deceased, over and over again? This is a personal preference, it isn't a law. Don't let your personal preferences lead you down the path of virulent intolerance. We are all seeking to help these birds, each as best we can. All we humans can do is help the birds get a little edge now and then, in whatever way we can. Then it will be up to them to find their appropriate path in becoming a good steward of their little corner of the world.
I have chosen sides on that battle. Disturb or destroy that habitat and you will exterminate the species as surely as if you had shot it. So conservation means that [we] have to preserve forest and grassland, river and lake, even the sea itself.
This is vital not only for the preservation of animal life generally, but for the future existence of man himself—a point that seems to escape many people.
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The bluebirds are a group of medium-sized, mostly insectivorous or omnivorous Passerine birds. They are in the genus Sialia of the thrush family (Turdidae). After a male Eastern Bluebird has attracted a female to his nest site (by carrying material in and out of the hole, perching, and fluttering his wings), the female. about bluebird bio. bluebird bio is a clinical-stage company committed to developing potentially transformative gene therapies for severe genetic diseases and T.