Photo: Laurie Lawler/Great Backyard Bird Count Participant

Eastern Bluebird

Sialia sialis

Conservation status In the past, declined seriously in many areas with loss of habitat and loss of nesting sites. During recent decades has been increasing again, undoubtedly helped by birdhouses in many areas.
Family Thrushes
Habitat Open country with scattered trees; farms, roadsides. Breeds in many kinds of semi-open habitats, including cut-over or burned areas, forest clearings, farm country, open pine woods; locally in suburbs where there are extensive lawns and good nest sites. Wanders to other habitats in winter.
This is the most widespread of the three bluebirds. Although it is mostly "eastern" in our area, its total range extends south to Nicaragua. A high percentage of Eastern Bluebirds in North America today nest in birdhouses put up especially for them along "bluebird trails." When they are not nesting, these birds roam the countryside in small flocks.
Photo Gallery
Feeding Behavior

Does much foraging by perching low and fluttering down to ground to catch insects, often hovering to pick up items rather than landing. Also catches some insects in mid-air, and may take some while hovering among foliage. Feeds on berries by perching or making short hovering flights in trees.


Eggs

4-5, sometimes 3-7. Pale blue, unmarked; sometimes white. Incubation is mostly by female, about 13-16 days. Young: Both parents bring food to the nestlings, and young from a previous brood also help to feed them in some cases. Young leave the nest at about 18-19 days on average. 2 broods per year, sometimes 3.


Young

Both parents bring food to the nestlings, and young from a previous brood also help to feed them in some cases. Young leave the nest at about 18-19 days on average. 2 broods per year, sometimes 3.

Diet

Mostly insects and berries. Feeds on a wide variety of insects, including crickets, grasshoppers, beetles, and many others; also spiders, earthworms, snails, rarely small lizards or tree frogs. Also eats many berries, especially in winter.


Nesting

As a courtship display, male may sing and flutter in front of the female with his wings and tail partly spread. While perched close together, pairs may preen each other's feathers; male may feed female. Nest: Placed in cavity, typically in natural hollow in tree, in old woodpecker hole, or in birdhouse. Usually nests fairly low (2-20' above the ground), occasionally up to 50'. Nest in cavity (built mostly by female) is a loosely constructed cup of weeds, twigs, and dry grass, lined with finer grass, sometimes with animal hair or feathers.

Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds

Illustration © David Allen Sibley.
Learn more about these drawings.

Migration

Permanent resident in many southern areas. In the north, arrives quite early in spring, and lingers late in fall.

Help this bird. Donate today
Migration

Permanent resident in many southern areas. In the north, arrives quite early in spring, and lingers late in fall.

Songs and Calls
Call a liquid and musical turee or queedle. Song a soft melodious warble.