Bluebirds

(Sialia)



Bluebirds are a group of medium-sized, mostly insectivorous or omnivorous birds in the genus Sialia of the thrush family (Turdidae). They are one of the few thrush genera in the Americas.

It's true, these birds are related to American Robins, Gray catbirds, Northern mockingbirds and other members of the Thrush family.

North America is blessed with three species, Eastern, Mountain and Western.

Female birds are less brightly colored than males, although color patterns are similar and there is no noticeable difference in size between sexes.

Very territorial birds, they prefer open grassland with scattered trees and are cavity nesters (similar to many species of woodpecker). Bluebirds can typically produce between two and four broods during the spring and summer (March through August in the Northeastern United States).

Mountain Bluebird

Male Bluebirds identify potential nest sites and try to attract prospective female mates to those nesting sites with special behaviors that include singing and flapping wings, and then placing some material in a nesting box or cavity.

If the female accepts the male and the nesting site, she alone builds the nest and incubates the eggs.

Predators of young birds in the nests can include snakes, cats and raccoons.

Non-native and native bird species competing with our native Bluebirds for nesting locations include the Common Starling, American Crow, and House Sparrow, which take over the nesting sites, especially with the Eastern species , killing young and smashing eggs and sometimes killing adults.

By the mid 1960's Eastern birds were a rare sight in Michigan, birds that were once common in my childhood years were gone.

Numbers had declined by estimates ranging to 70% and more due to unsuccessful competition with house sparrows and starlings, both introduced species, for nesting cavities, coupled with a decline in habitat.

In late 2005 Cornell University's Laboratory of Ornithology reported Blue sightings at many locations in the southern U.S. as part of its yearly Backyard Bird Count, a strong indication of the BBs return to the region.

This upsurge can largely be attributed to people like you. Volunteers establishing and maintaining trails, backyard birders are placing and monitoring nest boxes.

Yes, strong efforts from bird lovers like you have brought back this bird from the brink.

These birds will readily accept man made nesting cavities (nest boxes)if the locations are to their liking.

You can also attract them with fruits and berries, and no BB will turn down a nice juicy mealworm.

To learn a bit more on our three species of Bluebirds, click on the links below.

Eastern BBs

Mountain BBs

Western BBs

Bluebirds and Other Backyard Birds

Nest Boxes

Create a Bird Habitat


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