Yesterday we saw our first Bluebirds of the year! I’m always thrilled to see these gorgeous birds, and my husband and son have been building and posting Bluebirds boxes for years. Back home in Arizona, Jim had around twenty boxes posted all along our fenceline. Of course, there we watched Mountain Bluebirds like this one…
There isn’t anything I’ve seen yet like a flock of 50 or 60 of these incredible birds flying in waves over our stockpond, landing, taking off, all in unison like one giant bird-thing – all looking like bits of sky themselves!
Here in Kentucky, we’re watching Eastern Bluebirds, though, and I’ve not seen them flock the way Westerns do. They’re still incredible beautiful, and in reading up on them, I found that there’s a Kentucky Bluebird Society whose aim is to foster awareness and encourage people to hang boxes for these gorgeous cavity-nesting birds.
Bluebird populations had dropped dramatically over the last hundred years here in the US, but are making a comeback partially due to the building and hanging of bluebird boxes in many parts of the country. Bluebirds like to stake out their nesting cavity very early in the year, and now is a great time to hang one in your yard.
Bluebirds will raise two or three clutches each year, and it’s advisable to clean out the nest box every winter at the least, so you want a box that has a hinged lid.
If you have a flat bottomed bird feeder that’s squirrel-proofed, you can add some dried or live mealworms to it as soon as you spot a Bluebird in your area to draw them in.
Bluebirds don’t start actually nesting until around March, but they’ll defend their chosen territory as soon as they’ve picked their spot. When she does start to lay eggs, the hen will stay really close to the box even when she comes out to feed and go potty.
Some interesting facts about Bluebirds:
*Pairs are usually monogamous through the breeding season, and may stay together for longer.
*Both birds will defend their territory, with the male bird taking on the edges and the female the nest site.
*Adult Bluebirds return to the same area every year, but very few juveniles return the same place where they were raised.
*Bluebirds have great vision – they can spot an insect or caterpillar in tall grass over 50 yards away!
*Family groups will flock together until Fall, when they’ll form larger groups by joining other families.
Another interesting thing I learned is that some Bluebird young will hang out with their parents and help feed the next bunch of baby birds. I’ve not seen this behavior, but I do know this is fairly uncommon!
And, here in Kentucky, we’re considered part of the South, and Bluebirds don’t necessarily migrate every year, so it very well could be that our birds here are year-round residents.
Here are a few more fun facts:
*Bluebirds can fly up to 17 miles per hour.
*Bluebirds are native to North America, and aren’t found anywhere else in the world
*Bluebirds have to contend with competition from Starlings, especially for good nesting spots!
So, enjoy watching out for Bluebirds this Spring, and hang a couple of boxes in your yard to make them feel welcome!