Eastern bluebirds are primarily found east of the Rockies, and range from Canada to Mexico and Honduras. They are much admired for their lovely coloring and. An eastern bluebird perches on a branch, patiently watching the ground below. Suddenly it spots a beetle. The bird spreads its bright blue wings, flies to the. The bluebirds are a group of medium-sized, mostly insectivorous or omnivorous birds in the order of Passerines in the genus Sialia of the thrush family.
He and his mate also eat wild berries, especially in cold weather when insects are not available. They rarely damage cultivated crops, and are very beneficial to farmers and gardeners. The young have spotted breasts until the fall molt when all bluebirds grow dull feathers for protection from predators.
The males are bright blue again by spring. As early as March or as late as June, the male bluebird locates a nesting site, establishes a territory around it, and sings to attract a female and warn other male bluebirds to stay away. Bluebirds are very territorial during nesting season and typically will not build within yards of another bluebird nest. Once a female accepts a site, she will do most of the nest building.
She builds a neat cup nest of dry grasses or pine needles. Nest building may take five days to three weeks. The female lays one blue or rarely white egg each morning until three to six eggs are produced. Incubation begins after the last egg is laid. Thirteen to fourteen days later, after incubation, all will hatch within hours of each other. Five blue eggs in grass nest.
Photo by Liz Schmid. Hatchling before eyes have opened Photo by Liz Schmid. Both the male and the female adults tend to the nestlings.
They feed the nestlings with soft insects graduating to coarser foods as the nestlings grow. Put nests in the trash to avoid attracting predators. If mice nest in the boxes over the winter, clean them out in February. Replace or repair any split, rotten, or broken pieces on boxes that could let rain in and chill nestlings.
And be prepared to become possessed by these captivating birds. DON'T install nestboxes within yards of barnyards where animals are fed, or where House Sparrows are abundant unless you are willing to actively manage House Sparrow populations.
DON'T mount boxes on trees or fence lines--they provide easy access for predators. DON'T install boxes near where pesticides or herbicides are used. Don't use pesticides inside boxes unless they are approved for caged birds. House Sparrows are non-native invasive pests, and are not protected by law. You might think they're cute some bluebirders refer to them as "rats with wings" , but they will attack and kill adult bluebirds sometimes trapping them in the nestbox , and destroy eggs and young.
House Sparrow nests, eggs, young, and adults may be legally removed or humanely destroyed under U. It is better to have no box at all than to allow House Sparrows to reproduce in one.
It is illegal to disturb an active nest of any bird except House Sparrows, starlings and pigeons, which are not protected. Empty House Wren nests can be removed. Or try a Magic Halo. DON'T worry that monitoring will make the parents desert the nest. Bluebirds tolerate human presence. Touching the nest will not make the birds leave--your mother just told you that to keep you from harassing them.
Most birds don't have a good sense of smell. DON'T open the boxes once the birds are days old. Their eyes are fully open when they are days old. Parents may just dip their heads into the box hole to feed the young at this age.
It can cause young to fall or hop out of the nestbox before they are capable of flying, reducing their chances for survival. DON'T assume the nest is abandoned. During egg laying, adults may spend very little time in the box.
On hot days, the female may leave the nest for long periods of time. The only sure way to know the nest is abandoned is if neither parent has visited the nest for four full hours after the young have hatched. If it has been abandoned, contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator e. DON'T get discouraged if bluebirds don't nest in your boxes the first year. Bluebird Ti metable in Connecticut - see photos of nestling development. Also see general bluebird nesting timetable and more information on bluebird biology for Eastern Bluebirds Mountain Bluebirds Western Bluebirds.
Also see typical first egg dates by State. Bluebirds start checking out nesting sites. Late arrivals, or previously unpaired birds may nest as late as July or even August, and some pairs have multiple broods. It's never too late to put up a nestbox , as they may be used for a subsequent nesting see Number of Broods , for roosting, and are also often checked out in the fall by birds that may return the following spring.
Usually laying one per day skipping a day in cold weather is possible but uncommon , for a total of eggs. Often start egg laying a few days after nest is completed. Egg laying can be delayed sometimes for a week or two - 3 weeks is not unheard of in cold weather, for young parents, or in cases where food is scarce. In Connecticut, the first egg is generally laid in April. Earliest reported in CT: First week of March. Latest reported in August - 3 broods that year. Later broods tend to have fewer eggs, and Bluebirds tend to lay more eggs per nest in the north vs.
While they may sit on eggs occasionally during the egg laying period, "full-time" regular incubation doesn't start until all eggs are laid. They may wait about a week if weather is still cold. They may start incubating before the clutch is complete in warmer conditions. Hatching failure is highest during warmer conditions. Occasionally a runt will fledge one or even two days later than the others.
When they are first born, they look "a bit like hairy shrimp. If the box is empty in this time frame, the nest is flattened, and there is some fecal material white on the walls, it usually means fledging was successful. Once they leave the nest, bluebirds do not return to it. When the babies are 28 days old, they can fly well. They can feed themselves by Day If you keep track of dates, you will be able to avoid opening the box after the young are 13 days old, to prevent premature fledging.
At this age, bright blue feathers are evident on males. They also like fruit - e. Although they will eat the fruit of multiflora rose and Japanese honeysuckle, these are invasive species , and should be eradicated. They may eat suet see link for recipes. Bluebirds rarely eat birdseed they will occasionally take shelled sunflower and peanut chips.
Bluebird Information and Awareness. Bluebird Nest Problems identifying causes. Cavity nesting birds - U. Connecticut Audubon Society in Pomfret. Cornell Lab of Ornithology , Birdhouse Network. Eastern Bluebird distribution - winter and summer. Feeder plans for Bluebirds. Flyer with general information about bluebirding - available in PDF format. Links and Resources for Bluebirders from the Bluebirding Forum including where to buy quality nestboxes.
Masschusetts Bluebird Association - CT doesn't have one. Nesting schedule, what records to keep. Planting for Wildlife - list of plants preferred by bluebirds and hummingbirds.
Thunder Bay Bluebird Recovery Program.
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The bluebirds are a group of medium-sized, mostly insectivorous or omnivorous Passerine birds. They are in the genus Sialia of the thrush family (Turdidae). After a male Eastern Bluebird has attracted a female to his nest site (by carrying material in and out of the hole, perching, and fluttering his wings), the female. about bluebird bio. bluebird bio is a clinical-stage company committed to developing potentially transformative gene therapies for severe genetic diseases and T.