Bluebird Biology

……………Eastern Bluebird Western Bluebird in Field Mountain Bluebird on Perch

The bluebird (genus Sialia) is a member of the thrush family (Turdidae) and related to robins. Three species exist in the United States, the Eastern Bluebird, Western Bluebird, and Mountain Bluebird–depicted left to right above. Bluebirds eat fruit and large number of insects, which is why farmers put bluebird boxes up in vineyards, orchards, and other crops for natural pest control. Small gardens can benefit by their presence as well. Bluebirds prefer to live in open grassy areas with scattered shrubs or trees. They are cavity nesters, originally choosing hollows in trees to nest in, which is why they can be so easily attracted to nest boxes.

Bluebirds are so popular that a bluebird society exists in nearly every state. These groups install “bluebird trails”—rows of bluebird nest boxes– in areas of good habitat such as open fields. They maintain the boxes and periodically monitor bluebird breeding success. By the 1970’s it was estimated that bluebird populations had declined significantly in most states. The response by various groups to install bluebird trails throughout the country has brought this beautiful bird back to excellent numbers.

See our innovative Bluebird House.

Bluebird Range Map

Range Map of the Eastern and Western and Mountain Bluebirds

Yellow= Eastern; Red = Mountain; Green = Western; Brown = Overlap

The map below shows the three species respective ranges and is a good guide for knowing which lives in your area. Wherever you live in the United States, you will likely have bluebirds nearby during breeding season. The eastern bluebird is present from the eastern coast across the entire country to a line drawn from western North Dakota south to western Texas. The mountain bluebird takes over from there, ranging through most of the west except for southern New Mexico and Arizona and low elevations in California. The western bluebird shares much of the mountain bluebird’s breeding range, and is a common breeder in those parts of California where the mountain bluebird is absent.

Make sure to join and take part in our nationwide Bluebird Forum available on our Forum page.

BARN OWL PAIR EASTERN BLUEBIRDSMore Bluebird Facts:

• Bluebirds begin breeding in early to late March in most areas. • Breeding begins with males staking out potential nest sites and advertising them to prospective females with display flights and calls. • Once the female chooses a site, she alone will build the nest and brood the eggs. • Nests are built with grass, hay, and pine needles with an inner liner of softer grass, hair, and feathers. Construction takes about 10 days. • Four to six powder blue eggs form each clutch. • The male provides the family with beetles, grasshoppers, crickets, and other insects as well as various berries throughout the nesting period. • Bluebird young leave the nest fully grown at 15 days and begin feeding on their own. A year later they are ready to raise young of their own. • Bluebirds can raise as many as four families a season, breeding into late summer. • Northern populations migrate in the winter; southern birds remain sedentary.

Links to Sites Dedicated to Bluebird Conservation

These websites belonging to various bluebird societies are devoted to providing information on installing bluebird houses, and maintaining bluebird trails.

North American Bluebird Society
http://www.nabluebirdsociety.org/

Arkansas: Bella Vista Bluebird Society
http://www.nabluebirdsociety.org/

Bermuda: Bermuda Bluebird Society
http://www.bermudabluebirdsociety.com/

California: California Bluebird Recovery Program
http://www.cbrp.org/

Palos Verdes South Bay Audubon Society
http://www.pvsb-audubon.org/

Southern California Bluebird Club
http://bluebirdssc.wordpress.com/

Colorado: Colorado Bluebird Project:
http://www.denveraudubon.org/conservation/bluebird-project/

Florida: Florida Bluebird Society
http://www.floridabluebirdsociety.com/

Tampa Audubon Society
http://www.tampaaudubon.org/

Iowa: Bluebirds of Iowa Restoration
http://www.nabluebirdsociety.org/affiliatesgenericweb.asp?group=BoIR

Iowa Bluebird Conservationists
http://www.nabluebirdsociety.org/affiliatesgenericweb.asp?group=IABC

Idaho: Our Bluebird Ranch
http://www.nabluebirdsociety.org/affiliatesgenericweb.asp?group=OBR

Rocky Mountain Blues
http://www.nabluebirdsociety.org/affiliatesgenericweb.asp?group=RMB

Illinois: East Central Illinois Bluebird Society
http://www.nabluebirdsociety.org/affiliatesgenericweb.asp?group=ECIBS

Southern Illinois Audubon Society
http://www.siaudubon.org/

Indiana: Brown County Bluebird Society
http://www.nabluebirdsociety.org/affiliatesgenericweb.asp?group=BCBS

Indiana Bluebird Society
http://www.indianabluebirdsociety.org/

Kentucky: Kentucky Bluebird Society
http://biology.eku.edu/kbs/default.html

Louisiana: Louisiana Bayou Bluebird Society
http://www.labayoubluebirdsociety.org/

Massachusetts: Massachusetts Bluebird Organization
http://www.massbluebird.org/

Maryland: Maryland Bluebird Society
http://www.mdbluebirdsociety.org/

Maine: Mid-Coast Audubon Society
http://www.midcoastaudubon.org/

Michigan: Michigan Bluebird Society
http://michiganbluebirdsociety.org/

Minnesota: Bluebird Recovery Program of Minnesota
http://bbrp.org/

Missouri: Missouri Bluebird Society
http://missouribluebird.wordpress.com/

Wyoming: Mountain Bluebird Trails
http://www.mountainbluebirdtrails.com/

North Carolina: North Carolina Bluebird Society
http://www.ncbluebird.com/

Nebraska: Bluebirds Across Nebraska
http://www.bbne.org/

New Hampshire: New Hampshire Bluebird Conspiracy
http://www.nabluebirdsociety.org/affiliatesgenericweb.asp?group=NHBC

New Jersey: New Jersey Bluebird Society
http://www.njbbs.org/

New York: New York State Bluebird Society
http://www.nysbs.org/

Orleans Bluebird Society
http://www.nabluebirdsociety.org/affiliatesgenericweb.asp?group=ORLBS

Scoharie County Bluebird Society
http://www.nabluebirdsociety.org/affiliatesgenericweb.asp?group=SCBS

Ohio: Ohio Bluebird Society
http://www.ohiobluebirdsociety.org/

Oklahoma: Oklahoma Bluebird Society
http://www.nabluebirdsociety.org/affiliatesgenericweb.asp?group=OKBS

Oregon: Prescott Bluebird Society
http://www.prescottbluebird.com/

Pennsylvania: Bluebird Society of Pennsylvania
http://www.thebsp.org/

The Purple Martin Conservation Association
http://www.purplemartin.org/

South Carolina: South Carolina Bluebird Society
http://www.southcarolinabluebirds.org/

Tennessee: Bluebirds Across America
http://www.nabluebirdsociety.org/affiliatesgenericweb.asp?group=BAA

Tennessee Bluebird Trails
http://www.nabluebirdsociety.org/affiliatesgenericweb.asp?group=TNBT

Texas: Texas Bluebird Society
http://www.texasbluebirdsociety.org/

Virginia: Virginia Bluebird Society
http://www.virginiabluebirds.org/

Audubon Society of Northern Virginia
http://www.audubonva.org/

Washington: Cascadia Bluebird and Purple Martin Society
http://www.nabluebirdsociety.org/affiliatesgenericweb.asp?group=CBPMS

Puget Sound Bluebird Recovery Project
http://www.pugetsoundbluebird.org/

Wisconsin: Bluebird Restoration Association of Wisconsin
http://www.braw.org/

Lafayette County Bluebird Society
http://lafayettecountybluebirdsociety.wordpress.com/

West Virginia: Potomac Valley Audubon Society
http://www.potomacaudubon.org/