Hey guys, welcome back! Today, the eastern bluebird. I love these little guys, but for as common as they are, I never saw one ever in my life until 2015! They did suffer a major population decrease thanks to aggressive invasive species the house sparrow and European starling out competing them for nesting spots. But things began turning around in the 60s and 70s as places began promoting bluebird nest boxes. Here in Ohio both the Lake Metroparks and Cleveland Metroparks have bluebird boxes up in their parks and their populations overall have increased dramatically. There’s a number of them in my neighborhood as well, and I think I may get myself a nest box to put up in my yard for spring!
The eastern bluebird is in the thrush family, and looks similar to its larger cousin, the American robin. Like the robin they sport a rusty orange breast, but where the robin is gray the bluebird is, well, blue. Females are much grayer in color, but typically have hints of blue on their wings, not unlike the red tinges of a female cardinal. The eastern bluebird has a nearly identical western counterpart (named, appropriately, the western bluebird) but the two can be identified by their throat. The eastern bluebird’s orange begins at the throat and continues to its breast, the western has a blue throat with the orange beginning further down the body.
Though fairly widespread, I only ever saw one in NYC. Funny enough the eastern bluebird is the state bird of New York. When I moved to St. Louis (another state with the bluebird as its state bird) I saw quite a few of them. Meanwhile here in Ohio, they are quite common. They are found throughout the eastern US year round. They feed primarily on insects and fruits and have been known to take larger prey such as lizards. They rarely visit backyard feeders unless you have a mealworm feeder out for them. Growing up, I always wanted to see an eastern bluebird. The thought of a blue bird (that wasn’t a blue jay) fascinated me. I think it’s because of this that to this day, I still enjoy seeing one! There is actually a third bluebird species in the US, the mountain bluebird. They’re similar in shape but are entirely blue, lacking any orange! Join me next time when we look at the eastern US’s only hummingbird species! See you then!