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The North American Bluebirds

How can you look at a bluebird and not feel a little bit better about the day?  Their shimmering blue coats and cheery calls make these feathered wonders popular wherever they are found.  There are three species of bluebirds found in the United States, but the Eastern Bluebird is the only one found in New York.

Bluebirds are cavity nesters.  As land has been cleared for new developments and wooden fence posts replaced with metal, the number of nesting sites available has been greatly reduced. This had a negative effect on bluebird populations.

Select from the menu on the left to learn about bluebirds and setting up your own bluebird box.

Eastern Bluebird

Eastern Bluebirds – female (left) and male (right)

Aggravating the situation has been the introduction into the United States of two very aggressive species, the European Starling and the House Sparrow.  Both of these species compete with the bluebird for nesting spots and have had significant impact on the bluebird population.  Starlings also compete with bluebirds over the fall food supply of berries and seeds with large flocks of starlings often stripping a local supply in a short period of time.

Bluebirds belong to the thrush family, (Turdidae), which includes the Wood Thrush, robin and more than six hundred species worldwide.  Bluebirds, however, are found only in North America.

Bluebirds adapt well to man-made nesting boxes.  Bluebird boxes and trails play an important role in supporting local populations and are vital to the species’ long term success.  Trails are easy to develop and are both fun and satisfying to operate.

Additional information
In addition to the information on this site, we recommend the Sam’s Guide to Bluebirds.  The two disc set has additional information on bluebird boxes and managing your bluebird trail.  You’ll also find short movies showcasing the beauty and lives of all three bluebird species. Also included are:

  • Plans for building your own bluebird box.
  • A quick reference card will assist you in purchasing bluebird boxes and setting up your bluebird box or trail.

Visit Sam’s Birds web site for additional information or to order.

Sam's guides to bluebirds

Birding Quick Hits

Harris's Hawks of the southwestern United States hunt in packs to increase their chance of success.