Bluebird Information (scroll down) ... Bluebird Photo Gallery ... Bluebird Feeders & Nesting Boxes (to attract Bluebirds)
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Bluebirds are territorial, mostly insectivorous or omnivorous birds that are restricted to the Americas.
Their preferred habitat consists of open areas with scattered trees nearby for perching and roosting; such as pastures, orchards, golf courses, parks and the edges of meadows. They may also nest outside of towns and cities.
These medium-sized attractive birds are named after the strikingly blue, or blue and red plumage.
Female birds are less brightly colored than males, although color patterns are similar.
Males and females are similarly sized..
Bluebirds are cavity nesters (similar to many species of woodpecker). Once the males have identified a potential nest site, they work to attract females to those nesting sites by singing and flapping wings, and lining the nesting site, which could be a nesting box or tree cavity. Once the female accepts a male, she will then complete the nest and incubate the eggs alone. They will usually produce 2 - 4 broods during the spring and summer.
During the nesting season, bluebirds are particularly territorial. The male aggressively defends the outer areas of the territory, while the female defends the immediate area of the nesting site.
Feeding / Diet
Bluebirds have an increased need for protein during the breeding season and at that time are particularly insectivorous, feeding mostly on ground-dwelling insects.
Bluebirds are attracted to platform bird feeders. They particularly like mealworms and will also eat raisins soaked in water. (*AvianWeb Note: Raisins have the potential of toxicity if fed in too high a quantity. Caution is advised)
Three bluebird species live in North America, specifically the Eastern Bluebird, the Western Bluebird and the Mountain Bluebird. Bluebird are very beneficial birds as they consume large amounts of insects.
The Bluebirds used to be very common but loss of habitat, pesticides and predators have taken their toll on these beautiful creatures.
In providing food, water, shelter and a place to raise their young right in your garden - the four essential components of a successful "backyard habitat" - you are not only helping this species to survive and thrive, but you will be able to enjoy seeing and experiencing them in your backyard.
It is important to note that Bluebirds don't usually eat seeds, but will enjoy berry or insect suet. A variety of feeders are available. They like the fruits and berries of elderberry, dogwood, bayberry, red cedar, sumac, Virginia creeper, holly, blueberry and hackberry. You can also try offering chopped fruit, berries and chopped peanut kernels in a platform feeder.
Shelter / Place to Raise their Young:
Bluebirds nest in natural nesting sites, such as tree cavities and old woodpecker holes. However, in the absence of these, they will readily use nesting boxes of appropriate dimensions. Bluebird boxes should be mounted no higher than 4 - 5 feet above the ground, as far as possible away from human habitation. Situate so that it faces open land. Provide nesting materials, such as grasses or the lint from your dryer works great too. After brushing my cat's hair, I clean the brush outside and wild birds really like to pick the hair up for padding their nests. Nesting material can be provided in an empty suet cage or simply place in an area frequented by wild birds.
Cleanliness is important.
You don't want the birds to become sick. I use a powercleaner every day to clean off any dirt, change the water several times a week, scrub as necessary, and disinfect the water fountain / bird baths and bird feeders at least once every two weeks with bleach.
I also hose down the bird feeder every day with a power sprayer, clean off any bird droppings and watch for bird mites. Wild birds often carry them and in visiting our bird feeders will pass them on to other birds. If you see little moving specks in the seed, it's best to discard the seed, or at the very least freeze them in for a week or longer. I have learned that it is best to keep bird seed inside (I keep it in the garage) -- as they get easily infected outside.
Every night, I hose my bird feeders down with a Power Sprayer and let it dry over night.
If you believe the area around the bird feeder is infected, change the location of the bird feeders temporarily.
I spray any infected areas with "soapy" water using a water hose with a fertilizer attachment, putting the dish washing liquid into the "fertilizer" compartment. I use Dawn dish washing liquid, as it is the safest. Never ever use the anti-bacterial kind, as it bad for the birds and the environment. This will take care of any mites and ants. (Eliminated my red ant problem!) . Make sure that you are not spraying any animals.
The second step in ridding any areas of bird mites is dusting them with Sevin Dust (5 percent).
With outside aviaries, mites can become a real problem, as wild birds sit on top of the aviaries and infect the breeder birds / aviary area. A red mite infestation killed several of my chicks. Once I noticed the problem, I removed all the babies, cleaned them up and handraised them. From that day on, I added a little Sevin Dust to the bird nesting material and it did not harm the eggs, chicks and breeder birds - but kept the areas free from infestation. It worked great.
You can get Sevin Dust 5% at Target stores (that's where I bought mine).
Status & Conservation
Bluebird numbers are declining due to a decline in habitat and predation of their nestlings by snakes, cats, raccoons and non-native bird species, such as Common Starling and House Sparrow which have been observed entering a nestbox, pecking the nestlings to death. House Wrens may enter a bluebird's nest box, poke small holes in the eggs and sometimes toss some or all of the eggs to the ground. Additionally, these birds also compete with bluebirds for nesting locations.
Bluebirds and other native birds that use nest boxes are protected under Migratory Birds Convention. It is illegal to touch or handle bluebirds without a special permit. If assistance is needed, contact your local licensed wildlife rehabilitation center.
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