Bird houses and bird feeders can attract
these beautiful little birds to your backyard.
Bluebirds are a favorite of mine, and
in fact most birders. They are not as common as they once
were, and there is a concerted effort by many birders to
change this. The establishment of Bluebird trails is
increasing their number. A Bluebird trail is a series of nest
boxes in appropriate habitats. Even putting up a single nest box helps the
cause. Get Bluebird puzzle
Most videos on my site were taken with the Canon
Identification and Pictures
Bluebirds are a member of the Thrush family. They
are related to the American Robin. There are three
types living in North America.
Western Bluebirds (Sialia mexicana) are a little larger than a Sparrow, around 6
to 7 inches. The head, wings, and tail are blue. The belly is
white, the breast, and back are rusty red. In some birds the
back will be partially blue.
Pair of Western Bluebirds,
Photo by Keith Lee. The camera I use is theCanon
The Mountain Bluebird (Sialia
currocoides) is almost all blue with a whitish belly. The
females in all types have duller colors. In the Mountain
bluebird it is dull
brownish with a touch of blue on the wings, rump, and tail.
The Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis)
looks the same except it has a rusty throat.
Eastern Bluebird by Menke, Dave
The Eastern bluebird makes a note that sounds like tru-ly, and the song is soft gurgling notes.
The Western bluebird sounds like pew. Mountain bluebirds have a chru sound and a song that is a
Note on some browsers you will not be able to see or
use the drop down sound list. If you can't use
it try the sound links below.
Below are some tips for starting your own Bluebird
trail or attracting these little birds to you backyard.
I will sometimes use birdhouse and other times use nest box
to mean the same thing.
Location - Location.
Bluebirds like open spaces with short vegetation, and lots of
insects. This could be gulf courses, parks or a field on the
edge of a wooded area. A large lawn is fine. They nest
naturally in dead tree cavities, and abandoned woodpecker
holes. The birds do not make their own nest
cavities. They rely on natural or manmade cavities such
as birdhouses to build nests in. Try placing your
birdhouses where there are some nearby trees or shrubs for
them to perch on. They are tolerant of humans, and do not
mind nesting around them.
Many Bluebird trails will go on for miles. The boxes
are generally spaced around 300 feet apart. The reason for
the spacing is bluebirds are territorial when breeding.
You can also put up a house or two in your
back yard to attract them.
Placement & Mounting
You can place your nest boxes on a pole, fence, post or
attach it to a tree. Keep in mind that there are many
predators. Cats, dogs, squirrels, and snakes all pose a
Try to place your boxes where nesting
materials such as soft grasses, and pine needles are
available. Some people put out containers with these
materials for the birds.
Mount it so the hole faces away from the prevailing
wind, preferably out of the direct sun. About five
feet above the ground is good. More about bird houses
Do not be surprised to find other birds such as chickadees or
wrens in your birdhouse.
Sparrows can be a problem for bluebirds. They may destroy the eggs and kill the
young. If you see sparrows building a nest you can
remove the material before they finish.
Males will establish a territory of two to
five acres. In early March or April he will try to attract a
female with his sweet song. In courtship he will raise,
and quiver one or both wings, and often feed her morsels of
food. After she chooses the nesting spot she will lay one
egg a day until there are 3 to 5 in the clutch. In 12 to 14
days the eggs will hatch, and both adults will feed the young
ones. The young birds will fledge or develop the feathers to fly in 15
to 20 days.
Monitoring and cleaning
It's a good idea to check birdhouses once a week. Many
people keep records such as the date eggs were laid, and
hatched. The number for a season, as well as the date and
number of young birds can be recorded. The adults will return
after you examine the nest. After the nestlings have fledged,
remove the old nest so the birds will start over. After
breeding season you should
bag the nest, and throw it away. Check to see if the nest has
insects. If you find insects get rotenone powder to dust the
box with. If the birds start building a new nest before you
remove the old one just leave it alone.
Create a Habitat in Your
Two things that will attract birds to your backyard are
food, and plenty of water. You can also plant fruit, and berry
trees. Add herbaceous flower beds to this, and you will
have an attractive habitat.