Who doesn’t love Bluebirds!? I am part of the Massachusetts Birding Group and there are more posts and pictures of these colorful creatures than any other birds! Bluebirds reside in our Western Mass area year-round but seem to be choosy about where and when they visit! I waited YEARS to finally have these blue and orange puffballs come to my yard in Wilbraham. Yet, every time I went to Monson. I saw them everywhere. Now, I typically have my one steady couple that visits multiple times daily in the winter. But I do not see them during breeding season much. Last year, I saw the male in the picture below getting ready to build a nest. I was so excited to become a Bluebird Grandma! Then, I never saw the babies, or my couple, again until this winter. I am thinking I need to have my bluebird houses put in different locations to attract them better.
Bluebirds are a small to medium bird that belong to the Thrush family of birds as does the American Robin. These cuties are easily recognized, especially when their sport their spring plumage! The males have long, bright blue feathers and bright orange bellies. They have a large, rounded head and somewhat big, black eyes and black beaks. The females are more of a blue-gray color with more white area showing on their bellies. The fledglings have a gray, mottled appearance with a visible white eye ring as you see below. Many people who are lucky enough to be chosen by these birds will see the fledglings grow up as they peek out of their houses and their parents bring them to their feeders.
My Dad and I have been researching the best location and hole size and ways to keep the bluebird safe from predators. House Sparrows can be mean. I saw them pull Chickadees and their eggs out of a birdhouse so they could take over the nest. Squirrels, snakes and other things like to eat the eggs too. He is building me one but as these birds are already checking out local real estate, time is ticking. For this year, I will try to move my old houses. The ideal specifications for successful Bluebird living require the correct house and location. The house should have no perch and the hole needs to be 1 3/16”-1 ½” in diameter to help keep predators out. It should open and close so you can clean it after the breeding season is over as parasites can be there from the winter. It also cannot be located close to another Bluebird house as they are territorial. It will need a baffle of sorts, so critters from below cannot climb to access the eggs either. I better get busy!
My Bluebirds prefer to eat off my platform feeder as opposed to the “special Bluebird meal worm feeder” I bought them. They will also eat seeds off the ground and will occasionally visit my suet feeders if they can access them easily. They LOVE dried meal worms. In fact, that is all that my couple will eat for the most part. In the wild, they eat insects mainly and will supposedly eat fruit and berries. I have not seen my take any fruit, but they haven’t stayed for the summer when natural berries are out either. My Bluebirds are pretty timid. They wait for me to put out the worms in the morning and come immediately. Then, the come back often and will sit and watch from a distance. They come eat when there are not too many other birds around and will get scared away from food easily. They visit my heated birdbath many times daily too.
The Eastern Bluebirds’ calls are rather shy sounding to me as well. I have a hard time hearing them, especially if other birds are singing nearby. They sound like soft, whistling noises in the background to me. I have some incidental audio that I got with other birds’ sounds that you can listen to below. These personable birds often live near meadows but will nest in tree cavities and man-made boxes often. They were seriously endangered until we humans started building nest boxes for this population and now they are a bird classified as “Least Concern”! They will group up and stack inside cavities to stay warm on frigid winter days. As it warms up, they start to prepare nests with grass, weeds, and twigs mostly. They raise 1 or 2 broods between March and September, and each brood will have 3-7 babies. Wish me luck in seeing some babies this summer!