All About Bluebirds and How to Attract Them to Your Backyard
Everyone has their favorite bird, and for many people, the bird at the top of their list is the regal bluebird. In fact, bluebirds are the state bird of four different states. If you are wanting to view bluebirds to your backyard, let’s take a look at a bit more about this species and some tips to attract them.
Bluebirds are identified by their characteristic blue feathers. There are actually three different species of bluebirds: eastern bluebirds, western bluebirds, and mountain bluebirds. Eastern and western bluebirds will have a reddish breast while mountain bluebirds are completely blue.
Bluebirds are found throughout much of North America. You’ll see them from coast to coast, as far north as Canada and as far south as Honduras. These beautiful animals can have a lifespan of up to ten years. Those found in colder climates tend to migrate while those in warmer climates may be year-round residents. Some fly several thousand miles from Canada to Texas each year.
While bluebirds are fairly common, their population has been on the decline. They were once as common as birds like robins and cardinals. However, bluebird populations have declined by an estimated 90% over the past century. Chief reasons for this include habitat loss, competition with sparrows and starlings, pesticide use, and an increase in house cats.
Bluebird Feeding Behavior
Bluebirds are omnivores and the first step to attracting them to your yard involves understanding their feeding behaviors. They typically hunt insects from a low perch, which means providing them with a place to perch in the open is a great way to encourage them.
Obviously, another great way to attract bluebirds is simply to feed them yourself. Selecting specially designed bird feeders just for bluebirds is a great way to accomplish this. Make sure these feeders are hung relatively low and in a fairly open space in order to increase your odds of success.
If you want to further increase your odds of attracting bluebirds to your backyard, we highly recommend that you offer them mealworms. This is a favorite food of bluebirds, and they absolutely love them! In fact, you can find a number of feeders designed just for mealworms that are great for a bluebird lover.
Another way to increase your odds of attracting these feathered friends to feed is to ensure that your yard has several native plants, particularly those that produce berries or fruit. During times of scarce food such as colder months, bluebirds will look to add these things to their diets.
Other Tips to Attract Bluebirds
As we noted, one of the reasons that bluebirds have been on the decline includes loss of habitat. This tends to come from a combination of removal of dead trees as well as competition with certain other species of birds.
Thus, a great way to attract bluebirds to your backyard for quality birdwatching is to provide them with a place to nest. This can be accomplished in a number of ways. For example, if you have a dead tree, consider leaving it as long as it isn’t a safety concern. This can attract bluebirds and other species that tend to nest in cavities.
Another great idea is to provide a bluebird nesting box yourself. You can further encourage the likelihood of a blue bird choosing your nesting box by ensuring that your yard has lots of nest-making materials such as pine needles and grasses, however, experts say that yarn, dryer lint, pet or human hair, and even scraps of cotton, should not be offered for various reasons.
Adding a birdbath is another great idea if you want to see more of these creatures. Bluebirds have to bathe in order to protect their feathers and will also use a birdbath as a drinking source. They locate water in nature by the sound of it moving, so adding a fountain or moving water feature can get their attention. If you live in a cold climate, be sure to get a birdbath with a heater.
A final suggestion for attracting this beautiful animal is to ensure that your lawn is free of pesticides and chemicals. Ground feeding birds like bluebirds can become sick from these types of chemicals.
Bluebirds are a favorite of many bird watchers. While they have decreased in number, there are many things you can do to make your backyard a haven for them. This is particularly true if you have a larger, more open lawn.
Choose from many excellent bluebird feeders and other supplies at Birdertown. Don’t see what you’re looking for? Reach out to one of our birding specialists and we’ll be happy to help you get started!