About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Where are the Bluebirds?

I have a family of bluebirds that nest here (last two summers). I feed them daily. I ASSUME it’s the same family as last year since the male practically lets me feed him by hand. I can get with in 2 feet of him.

They had a successful nest this year, 4 babies made it! I saw all 6 birds up until 2 weeks ago. They seem to have just disappeared. I still put the meal worms out for them, but after 4 days, I stopped, there were like 20 worms just sitting in the feeder waiting to be eaten.

Do you know if they go somewhere in the late summer and fall? I believe this is when I stopped seeing them last year. Stephanie

A pair of Eastern Bluebirds in Michigan, USA.Image via WikipediaThat’s a good question. It’s very normal for Eastern Bluebirds to gather together in large flocks starting in August until September in search of food. After nesting season has ended, they usually form large nomadic groups that roost at night in the woods.
Their diet changes from mostly worms and insects to fruit, nuts and berries. They can eat crab apples, Mountain Ash tree berries, and sometimes look under feeders for nuts. They also appreciate open water in the winter. If you have a pond or heated birdbath they may show up in large numbers for afternoon drinks.

We often think of migration as birds travelling thousands of miles south to winter in a tropical climate. That’s true for some birds even some bluebirds. The bluebirds that nested in Canada may skip over Michigan to winter in the southern states, but in southern and mid-Michigan, many bluebirds are year-round residents. Scientists think it’s due to genetics whether they want to fly south or winter over. Some birds are compelled to move south and others are not. They all gather in huge family groups in the fall however to increase their survival through the winter.

For more information on Eastern Bluebirds flocking and everything else bluebird, visit http://www.sialis.org/flocks.htm. It’s a great website that can answer all your bluebird questions.
We have a pond, but it freezes… I am getting a birdbath TODAY! Lol. I miss my birds….. Thank you so much.
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Kim Mi said...

After buying a WBU heated birdbath to put on my deck railing last year, I had a pair of Blues visited ever day several times a day. They also ate from a peanut feeder and a suet feeder frequently.

Louis , Saratoga County, NY said...

After not seeing(for several days) the father of three successful nests this season and a total of 13 chicks(5,5 and 3), we found him dead not far away from his favorite hangout. He was looking poorly the last few weeks. We hope it was not some kind of poison from a neighbor nearby. A lot of toxic chemicals are still used on lawns, plants etc. GO ORGANIC! The last group that fledged were maybe two weeks out of the nest. He was a great father. Been here several years. Had to get rid of more than 6 dozen house sparrows (an established colony)in order for him to nest here. Once that was done they multiplied beautifully.In addition to other nestboxes on my land. Since his death I have only seen the female once feeding two of the chicks. They never pass up the mealworm feeder and I keep it with worms daily . Later in the season they have dried mealworms in addition to live occasionally.I am still waiting. They are normally still around but maybe with their leader(a greaty one at that) no longer around they are together figuring(gone south etc.) things out. I really do miss them.