Eastern Bluebirds: The Little Blue Bomber
This blog was written by intern Gabriel Planas
Nature Canada’s featured species for April is the Eastern Bluebird.
What do they look like?
Eastern Bluebirds are medium sized songbirds that measure from 16-21 centimeters long and 28-32 centimeters wide, at full wingspan.
Males are the most identifiable by the deep blue feathers on their head and backs with a rusty discoloration on their chest. While the females have a much more pale blue coloration on their heads and backs, featuring heavy tones of grey.
What do they eat?
You may have seen them hanging out on power-lines or low hanging branches scanning the ground for prey. When hunting, they swoop down from their perches to catch bugs like grasshoppers, crickets, and beetles. Eastern Bluebirds are skilled hunters that occasionally can snatch bugs out of midair. They are also known to eat various types of berries in the winter.
Where can I find them?
Found in eastern North America from Saskatchewan to Nova Scotia all the way down to Nicaragua, Eastern Bluebirds will often migrate from Canada to the southern United States after their mating season.
They prefer wide-open areas such as farms, grasslands, roadsides and sometimes suburbs. These areas often provide natural cavities to nest in, their favorites being: hollowed trees and old woodpecker holes.
These areas are also, far from their natural predators who nest in more heavily forested areas. Predators of the Eastern Bluebird range from sparrows to Tree Swallows and House Wrens.
How do they nest?
The nesting season for Eastern Bluebirds starts as early as February and can last until September.
Nests are constructed from materials found closest to an Eastern Bluebird’s nest. These materials consist of weeds, twigs and dry grass with animal hair or feathers lining of the nest. Males use these materials to entice females to nest with them, showing that they have the resources required to nest with their mates.
Can I meet one!?
If you have a large tract of lawn space with very few trees or have a park with similar circumstances near you, bird feeders and nesting boxes may be great ways to see Eastern Bluebirds.
While Eastern Bluebirds will eat from bird feeders, it is important to note that they will not be enticed by them unless small worms or bugs are offered. Mealworms have been known to be a great ingredient to supplement your bird feed with alongside other foods such as peanut hearts, suet and fruit are recommended
The nesting habits of the Eastern Bluebird make them prime candidates for homemade nest boxes. The instructions to construct your own nest box can be found here.
It is important to properly maintain and observe your nest box. Instructions on how to protect your nest boxes can be found here.