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Eastern Bluebird Notecard



Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis)

The bluebird’s bright beauty and cheerful song inspire the pure joy of nature. The bluebird of happiness captures our hearts with its sunny disposition, expressive face, and humorous behavior.

A species of open spaces, bluebirds benefited from both Native Americans and Europeans settlers who cleared the land for farming. They found nesting cavities in orchards, fence posts, and abandoned woodpecker holes along forest edges. In turn, bluebirds helped farmers by eating insects and crop pests like grasshoppers, beetles, and snails.

Bluebird populations flourished until the introduction of the house sparrow and starling from Europe in the late 1800’s. These aggressive birds compete with bluebirds for nesting cavities. Changes in farming practices, like cutting hedgerows and replacing wooden posts with metal ones, combined with increased urbanization further eliminated nesting options, and consequently bluebirds started to disappear.

Conservation efforts to help bluebirds began in the 1930’s when the first “bluebird trails” were created by placing nesting boxes along country roads. Since then thousands of boxes have been put up, and with growing awareness of the bluebird’s habitat, nesting, and roosting needs, this beautiful species is making a comeback.

Bluebirds are members of the melodious Thrush Family and have a song composed of rich gurgling phrases, like “cheer cheerful charmer.” Look for bluebirds around farms, gardens, orchards and parks. They perch conspicuously on utility wires and fences, then suddenly drop down to catch insects in a flash and flutter of blue.

More bluebird boxes are needed! For conservation and educational information, write: North American Bluebird Society, Inc., P.O. Box 244, Wilmot, OH 44689.

artwork by John Sill

text by Kara Jean Hagedorn