FEEDING IT’S YOUNG -Most of the country drives during a North American summer will turn up a few Eastern Bluebirds sitting on telephone wire or perched atop a nest box, calling out in a short, wavering voice or abruptly dropping to the ground after an insect. Marvelous birds to capture in your binoculars or camera lens, the male Eastern Bluebird is a brilliant royal blue on the back and head, and warm red-brown on the breast. Blue tinges in the wings and tail give the grayer females an elegant look.
Eastern Bluebirds perch on wires, posts, and low branches in open country, scanning the ground for prey. They feed by dropping to the ground onto insects or, in fall and winter, by perching on fruiting trees to gulp down berries. Bluebirds commonly use nest boxes as well as old woodpecker holes .Allaboutbirds.org
You can find Eastern Bluebirds in open country with patchy vegetation and large trees or nest boxes. Meadows, old fields, and golf courses are good places. Bluebirds typically sit in the open on power lines or along fences, with an alert, vertical posture. When they drop to the ground after an insect, they make a show of it, with fluttering wings and a fairly slow approach, followed by a quick return to the perch.
This little bluebird has caught a grasshopper and is trying to feed it to it’s young inside the nest box. Over 68% of a Bluebirds diet is made up of insects such as grasshoppers, crickets, spiders, beetles, and caterpillars. They also like fruit, holly berries, flowering dogwood, ect and they love mealworms. Bluebirds rarely eat seeds, although last winter I spotted a few at my feeders eating seeds.
Everyone should put up nest boxes for these wonderful little birds. If you mount a nest box on a tree, large wooden post, fence or telephone pole with no guard, be prepared to lose adults, eggs and nestlings to raccoons, snakes or cats. Just because a predator hasn’t found the nest box the first year doesn’t mean they are safe. Sometimes it can take raccoons 3-4 years to find the location of a “Happy Meal.”
Always put some type of guard. Sialis.org has great ideas for installing a guard.
If you are interested in building your own bluebird nest box, this link has the plans. Nest Box Plans
Read more about the Eastern Bluebird HERE at Sweeties Slice of Life.
Take time today and be patient to watch and photograph a Bluebird. You will be rewarded with beautiful images of a beautiful bird.