All About Bluebirds
Bluebirds are one of the prettiest birds in any backyard, and lucky for us they’re becoming easier to see in the area!
In the 1960's Bluebirds were hardly seen in Delaware or Chester County. The land was mostly farm fields with scattered wooded areas. However, through the efforts of bird lovers and organizations installing birdhouses and setting up Bluebird Trails they have made an incredible comeback. In fact they’re doing so well they’re starting to creep into areas that they didn’t previously inhabit. Each year we get numerous phone calls from customers saying they’ve lived in their house for 20 years and never had Bluebirds until now. They truly are the Bluebirds of Happiness from song and poetry.
How to Tell Mr. Bluebird From Mrs. Bluebird
Bluebirds are named after their vibrant blue coloration, but did you know that their feathers are not actually blue? Their color comes from a certain prism structure in their feathers that reflects blue color when exposed to certain lighting. This is why they sometimes look gray at certain angles. Male bluebirds appear blue from their face, across the top of their head, all the way down their backs. They also have a rusty chest and light belly. Females are an elegant gray with blue wingtips and a lighter chest and belly than the male.
< male < female
Bluebirds can be seen in our region year-round which means there’s plenty of opportunity to see one! They prefer open spaces near wooded areas. Meadows or farm fields on the edge of the woods make for excellent Bluebird habitat. They also enjoy suburban backyards and parks as well.
Their diet consists mostly of ground-dwelling insects, as well as some seed and fruit in the winter when it is available. They will readily come to bird feeders, as well as use birdhouses for nesting.
A Bluebird house should have a 1 ½ inch diameter entrance hole. They should be located in an open area approximately 15 feet from any trees. Bluebirds build very tidy nests, which they weave out of grass or pine needles. They will typically lay 4-6 eggs per clutch and can have 2-3 clutches per year. Incubation lasts roughly 15 days, and the babies will remain in the nest another 18-21 days before fledging. Both parents share the responsibility of feeding the young.
In the winter, Bluebirds will form small flocks to make it easier to stay warm and find food. These flocks are often comprised of parents and their last brood of babies. They will remain together until Spring comes and they break up to form pairs for the next breeding season.
The best way to attract Bluebirds to your yard is to put out a bird feeder full of their favorite foods! Bluebirds can’t crack the shell of most seeds, so you will want to offer soft foods or seeds that are shell-less. Here are a few of their favorites that you can try out in your yard:
- Mealworms (live or dried, depending on your preference)
- Sunflower Chips (either on their own or in a blend, like No-Mess)
- Bark Butter Bits
- Hot Pepper Seed Logs
- Nuts and Berries Suet