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.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Mating habits of Eastern Bluebirds in the Fall

I live in the piedmont area of North Carolina. It is mid-October and we have cleaned the bluebird boxes so our featherd friends will have a place to spend the winter.

Yesterday afternoon (it was about 78 degrees here) I thought I saw a pair of bluebirds mating on top of the box. This can not be so….what was I really seeing…? ~ Susan

The motivations for a lot of animals’ behaviors have yet to be understood fully. But not every sexual act has a reproductive function. Some researchers believe this mating behavior to have its origin in male social organization and social dominance. Others suggest the social function of sex is not necessarily connected to dominance, but serves to strengthen alliances within a flock.
Observations of juvenile male bluebirds also reveal they occasionally engage in reproductive activities and “play house” with young female bluebirds to perhaps practice for the future. For now, until there is further evidence, your guess is as good as mine, but don’t hold your breath for babies anytime soon.

Thank you for asking a really good question,
Sarah