Bluebirds are one of the loveliest feathered creatures that can visit your yard. With their brilliant blue coloring and sweet song, they are a delight to see.
They aren’t just decorative, however, but are also some of the most determined insect eaters that you can welcome to your garden!
There are 3 different species of bluebirds, depending on what part of North America you are in: Eastern bluebirds (Sialia sialis), Mountain bluebirds (Sialia currucoides), and Western bluebirds (Sialia mexicana).
However, their nesting and eating habits are the same.
1. Bluebird Nesting Boxes
If you want bluebirds to take up residence in your yard, you need to provide them with a suitable home.
One of the most effective ways to provide housing for bluebirds is with bluebird boxes, which are small birdhouses constructed to provide a perfect environment for these cavity-dwelling birds.
Whether you buy the boxes or make your own, they should be mounted about 5 to 6 feet off the ground on a sturdy post, facing a wide stretch of open grass.
Make sure that you have a baffle between the ground and the nesting box to prevent animals from climbing up and dining on eggs or baby birds.
You may find other species of birds taking up residence before bluebirds get there. If it’s a non-native species such as house sparrows, you can evict them, but it’s illegal to remove the nests of native species.
Finally, it’s best to get any nesting boxes up and ready for occupation long before the nesting season. If you wait until spring, you may be too late, as bluebirds start checking out potential homes in late winter.
2. Dead Wood
You may not need nesting boxes to accommodate bluebirds if you have some dead trees nearby.
Bluebirds are cavity-dwelling birds, but they prefer not to have to excavate their own space. Instead, they will take over natural cavities or those created by woodpeckers.
If you have some standing dead wood, you may find bluebirds taking up residence!
3. Bluebirds Need Open Ground
Bluebirds prefer landscapes with lots of open space and short grass, so the average lawn is pretty ideal for them.
If you have a few mature trees, that’s even better, as they provide somewhere to perch while they scout for the insects that are a big part of their diet.
4. Chemical-Free Gardening Is Better For Bluebirds
If you do want bluebirds to hang out at your place, you need to ensure that they will have a plentiful supply of insects for them to eat. That means ditching the pesticides.
Not only do pesticides kill the insects that bluebirds depend upon, but they also can leave harmful residues in the bluebirds themselves.
5. Bluebirds Love Mealworms
Because bluebirds are primarily insectivores, you can provide them with a special treat that will be sure to keep them coming around for more.
Mealworms are readily available at pet stores and from online sources, and bluebirds love them.
They prefer live mealworms to dried ones, but you may be able to convince them to switch over if you start by mixing in an increasing proportion of the dried ones over time.
Especially in the winter when other food sources are getting scarce, the bluebirds will really appreciate this offering.
6. Fruiting Shrubs And Trees
Bluebirds do not exclusively eat insects, however, and ripe berries are an important food source in fall and winter.
Plant your property with native shrubs and trees that will provide food for bluebirds and other year-round feathered friends. Wild cherries are loaded in fall with small, ripe black fruits that bluebirds will gorge themselves on.
Through the winter, the berries of serviceberry, sumac, and holly will also be much appreciated.
In summer, fruiting bushes such as elderberries, blackberries, and chokecherries will add variety to the bluebirds’ diet.
7. Bird Baths For Bluebirds
Many birds will be attracted to a property with a bird bath, and bluebirds are no exception.
You need a broad, flat bowl with 1 or 2 inches of water. Even better, get one with a solar-powered fountain, or buy a kit to retrofit an existing bird bath.
The sparkling water will attract the bluebirds, and because it is constantly circulating it will stay fresher than if it is sitting still and getting stagnant.
Still, make a habit of topping it up with fresh water every day or so, and once a week give it a good cleaning.