“Birds of Blue”

June 2, 2010

There are “birds of blue” and there are bluebirds.  Occasionally, other bird species are mistaken for bluebirds.  There are three primary species of bluebirds (Mountain, Eastern, Western) along with some identified sub-species.

Primary Bluebird Species

Bluebird Species

Some “birds of blue” that are commonly mistaken for bluebirds.



Indigo Bunting

Indigo Bunting

Purple Martin

Purple Martin

Tree Swallow

Tree swallow

Blue Mockingbird

Blue mockingbird

Blue Grosbeak

Blue Grosbeak

Happy bird watching. Feel free to send bird photos along with a description of the sighting(s).  With your permission and appropriate attribution, the photos and sighting descriptions may be posted to the BLOG.

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Great Crested Flycatcher Nesting

May 28, 2010

This is the third year in a row that we have had Great Crested Flycatchers (GCFs) nest in a large woodpecker nest box located deep in the woods of our backyard.  The nest box stands about 20’ above ground.  It still amazes me that GCFs can fly from their winter homes as far away as northern South America and locate the nest box.

GCF #1 resized

Adult female Great Crested Flycatcher 05–28–2010

Nesting Habits

Will use nestbox.  Nests in cavities, typically filled with trash and nest placed on top. Nest made of leaves, hair, feathers, rootlets, string, trash, small twigs, bark, paper, and shed snakeskin.

Nest Location: Mid-story/canopy nesting

Nest Type: Cavity

Clutch Size: 4-8 eggs

Length of Incubation: 13-15 days

Days to Fledge:12-21

Number of Broods: usually 1

The Great Crested Flycatcher makes its home in northern South America, and migrates to eastern North America to nest and raise its young.

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Feeding mealworms to juveniles

May 9, 2010

Adult male bluebird feeding mealworms to the juveniles from the last clutch and to the adult female bluebird who is tending five eggs in the Gilbertson nest box.

BB #1

Adult male bluebird feeding juveniles from last clutch


BB #3

Adult male bluebird feeding female incubating the eggs of the next clutch

Mealworms really help out bluebirds when they are feeding their young and while the female bluebird is tending the nest.

If you want a “bluebird friendly” yard, be sure to provide mealworms.

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Feeding baby bluebirds

April 14, 2010

You can really help out your bluebirds when they start feeding the nestlings by putting out mealworms at least three times a day.  It is a real chore for the adult bluebirds to find suitable food for the nestlings and deliver it on a regular basis.  Bluebirds recognize a “bluebird friendly” yard and will continue to visit it every year for nesting purposes.

Getting mealworms

mealworm run to feed the nestlings


team work!

Feeding nestlings

shuttling between the nest box and the mealworm feeder

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Bluebird Meal Worm Feeder Plans

January 29, 2010

For you DIYers, the plans for the Bluebird Mealworm Feeder shown below can be downloaded by clicking on this link:

Bluebird Meal Worm Feeder Plans.


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Importance of feeding mealworms!

August 1, 2009

Adult bluebirds always stay busy trying to keep nestlings fed. You can tell the nestlings are nearing the fledging point when the adult bluebirds feed them from outside the nest box in order to entice them to peer out of the entrance hole at the world. The importance of feeding meal worms during this period cannot be overemphasized. If possible, place a mealworm feeder in the vicinity of the nest box and keep it well stocked throughout the day.

The YouTube movie clip provided below shows the adult bluebirds shuttling between the mealworm feeder and the nest box to keep the nestlings fed.

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Feeding Time!

July 26, 2009

It is a good idea to provide plenty of mealworms in a convenient location to help bluebirds with the task of feeding nestlings.  You will also get to see the juvenile bluebirds from earlier clutches visit the feeder along with the adult bluebirds.

Bluebird 2

Adult bluebird loading up on mealworks to feed nestlings – 07/26/2009

Bluebird 1

Adult bluebird busy feeding nestlings mealworms – 07/26/2009

Bluebird 3

Juvenile bluebird enjoying mealworms – 07/26/2009 

This is the third and final clutch of 2009.  It has been a very productive nesting season with 14 new bluebirds introduced into the population.

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