The Eastern Bluebird is one of those sought-after birds that people love to view and hear its sweet, lilting song. And if the “bluebird of happiness” is something you want more of in your life, there are plenty of ways way to encourage them to come to your yard — and even help these birds thrive.
These photogenic songbirds live primarily in the Eastern half of the U.S. Males are identifiable by their sky-blue backs and wings and rust-orange bellies, while females wear more subdued grayish blue feathers with a watercolor wash of orange across the breast.
One strategy to attract the Eastern Bluebird to your yard is through bluebird-friendly landscaping. In the summer, you’ll see them perched on roofs, tall fences and overhead wires, scanning the ground for signs of caterpillars and other insects.In the winter, their diet consists of dried fruit that still hangs on trees and shrubs. Open spaces are preferable, but trees like crabapple, dogwood, hawthorn and sumac, and shrubs like blueberry, chokecherry, elderberry, juniper and winterberry can supply them with winter fruits.
Another way to support the bluebird is by setting up a nesting box. The Eastern Bluebird is a cavity nester, usually utilizing a tree with an old woodpecker hole. But the problem is more land development means fewer suitable trees for cavity nesting, because these trees are usually either dead or deteriorating. Also, the Eastern Bluebird is in competition for nesting space with the increase and spread of the European Starling.
The Eastern Bluebird has brought out the good in people, with some taking the nesting box effort to the next level by establishing bluebird trails. A bluebird trail is where nesting boxes are installed every 100 yards to encourage nesting in bluebirds. But it doesn’t end there. The keeper of a bluebird trail actively monitors these boxes, removing nests built by starlings and keeping records of the Eastern Bluebirds’ nesting activity, number of chicks hatched and fledged, and recording them with their state or local bluebird society. If you’re interested in finding out if establishing a bluebird trail makes sense in your area, the North American Bluebird Society is a great resource.
In addition to mealworms, you can supplement the Eastern Bluebirds’ diet by offering Lyric Fine Tunes No Waste Mix. Eastern Bluebirds typically prefer insects because their beaks are not shaped for cracking seeds. Lyric Fine Tunes, however, contains pre-shelled, finely cut seeds, sunflower kernels, and nuts in bite size morsels that are easy for Bluebirds to eat.