Compliments of Wild Birds Forever
Bluebirds are a member of the Thrush family related to the American Robin. Three bluebirds make their home in North America: The Eastern Bluebird, The Western Bluebird and the Mountain Bluebird. The bluebird is very beneficial to us, eating large quantities of insects, such as cutworms and grasshoppers, considered damaging to our crops and gardens. These beautiful birds were once very common in the United States. However, over the last century their numbers have diminished due to loss of natural habitat, overuse of pesticides and predators.
We have compiled the following information to help you understand and attract bluebirds to your backyard and help protect this valuable bird. Offering food sources and nesting boxes or bluebird trails can help increase the number of bluebirds.
How to Attract Bluebirds to Your Backyard
Bluebirds prefer to live in open park lands, pastures and meadows. Bluebirds eat large quantities of insects. In fact 60-80% of their diet is insects. They like to perch on fence posts or small trees and swoop down to eat insects on the grassy ground. Bluebirds won’t typically visit your seed feeders, but will enjoy berry or insect suet.
Bluebirds nest in natural tree cavities and old woodpecker holes. When natural nesting sites are scarce, bluebirds will readily use nesting boxes built to correct dimensions. Mount bluebird boxes on a fence post or pole, low to the ground no higher than 4-5′. Situate along woodland edges facing open land. Keep as far from human habitation as possible.
Providing nesting materials is a strong factor in attracting nesting bluebirds since collecting nesting materials can take 100’s of trips. Bluebirds like soft grasses and fragrant pine needles as nesting material. Provide these nesting materials in a specially designed container, an empty suet cage, or simply gather bunches of material and situate in the bark of a tree.
Bluebirds, like all insect eating birds, get thirsty! Offer plenty of water sources in your backyard habitat.
Plant scattered fruit and berry trees, mixed with open lawn and herbaceous flower beds to make an excellent habitat. Bluebirds enjoy the berries and fruits of dogwood, red cedar, sumac, bayberry, Virginia creeper, holly, blueberry, hackberry and elderberry.
You can also try offering chopped fruit, berries and chopped peanut kernels in a platform feeder.
Learn more about bluebirds Join the North American Bluebird Society, or see our books on bluebirds.