Eastern BluebirdSialia sialis

adult male
Brian E. Small/VIREO
adult female
Brian Henry/VIREO
juvenile
Greg Lasley/VIREO
adult male
Brian E. Small/VIREO
juvenile
James M. Wedge/VIREO
Eastern Bluebird

Family

Description

7" (17 cm). Bright blue above and on wings and tail; rusty throat and breast; white belly and undertail coverts. Female similar, but duller.

Voice

Call a liquid and musical turee or queedle. Song a soft melodious warble.

Listen

turalee #2
chits (alarm calls at nest)
dawn song with chit calls #1
song
dawn song with chit calls #2
turalee #1

Habitat

Open woodlands and farmlands with scattered trees.

Range

Breeds east of Rockies from southeastern Canada to Gulf of Mexico; also in mountains of southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico. Winters in southern part of breeding range. Also in Mexico.

Discussion

This beautiful bird is a favorite of many people and is eagerly awaited in the spring after a long winter. In places where bluebird nest boxes are erected and European Starlings and House Sparrows are controlled, up to six pairs of bluebirds will nest on as many acres. In the past 25 years bluebirds have become uncommon in the East for reasons not altogether clear. Competition for nest sites with European Starlings and House Sparrows is likely a critical factor. The erection of many artificial nest boxes in recent years seems to be helping to increase the population.

Nesting

4-6 pale blue eggs in a loose cup of grasses and plant stems in natural tree cavities, old woodpecker holes, fence posts, and bird boxes.

Similar Species

adult

Townsend's Solitaire

8-9 1/2" (20-24 cm). A slender bird, resembling a mockingbird. Gray overall, unstreaked, slightly darker above, with thin white eye ring and white outer tail feathers; pale rusty wing patch.

adult male, breeding

Northern Wheatear

5 1/2-6" (14-15 cm). A very rare, sparrow-sized bird of open ground.

adult male

Mountain Bluebird

7" (18 cm). Male pure sky-blue above, paler blue below, with a white abdomen; female similar, but duller and grayer.

adult male

Western Bluebird

6-7" (15-18 cm). A long-winged, rather short-tailed bird. Male has deep blue hood and upperparts; rusty red breast and crescent mark across upper back; white belly.

Vireo

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