These are one of the relatively few thrush genera to be restricted to the Americas. As the name implies, these are attractive birds with blue, or blue and red, plumage. Female birds are less brightly colored than males, although color patterns are similar and there is no noticeable difference in size between genders.
- Eastern Bluebird Sialia sialis
Western Bluebird Sialia mexicana
Mountain Bluebird Sialia currucoides
Bluebirds are territorial, prefer open grassland with scattered trees and are cavity nesters (similar to many species of woodpecker). Bluebirds can typically produce between two to four broods during the spring and summer (March through August in the Northeastern United States). Males identify potential nest sites and try to attract prospective female mates to those nesting sites with special behaviors that include singing and flapping wings, and then placing some material in a nesting box or cavity. If the female accepts the male and the nesting site she and she alone builds the nest and incubates the eggs.
Predators of young in the nests can include snakes, cats and raccoons. Non-native bird species competing with bluebirds for nesting locations include the Common Starling and House Sparrow, both of which have been known to kill young bluebirds.
Bluebirds are attracted to platform bird feeders, filled with grubs of the darkling beetle, sold by many online bird product wholesalers as mealworms. Bluebirds will also eat raisins soaked in water. In addition, in winter bluebirds use backyard heated birdbaths.
Bluebird numbers declined by estimates ranging to 70% in the 1970s due to a decline in habitat. However, in late 2005 Cornell University's Lab of Ornithology reported bluebird sightings at many locations in the southern U.S. as part of its yearly Backyard Bird Count, a strong indication of the bluebird's return to the region.
- Cornell BLUEBIRD-L email list - Caution: this is a high traffic list. However, users are welcoming and eager to provide information on a range of subjects to bluebird enthusiasts with diverse levels of birding experience.
- Eastern Bluebird Cornell descriptions, including range, calls and physical description
- Western Bluebird Cornell descriptions, including range, calls and physical description
- Mountain Bluebird Cornell descriptions, including range, calls and physical description
- Bluebird videos on the Internet Bird Collection