• There are three species of bluebirds found in North America, including Eastern, Western and Mountain Bluebirds.
• All bluebirds are cavity nesters and will use an artificial nest box. Habitat and nest cavities had been disappearing for many years, but bluebird populations have steadily increased for the past few decades due to thousands of bluebird nest boxes being installed across the country.
• Males may carry nest material to the nest, but they do not participate in the actual building. They spend much of that time guarding their mates to prevent them from mating with other males.
• Adult bluebirds tend to return to the same breeding territory year after year, but only a small percentage (3-5%) of young birds return to where they hatched.
• A bluebird can spot caterpillars and insects in tall grass at the remarkable distance of over 50 yards.
• Bluebirds have no blue pigments in their feathers. Instead, each feather barb has a thin layer of cells that absorb all wavelengths of color except blue. Only the blue wavelength is reflected and scattered, resulting in their blue appearance to our eyes.
• Eastern Bluebirds will occasionally breed with Mountain Bluebirds and successfully raise young.
• Bluebirds can fly at speeds up to 45 miles per hour if necessary.
• When choosing natural nesting cavities, studies have shown that Eastern Bluebirds select abandoned woodpecker nests at least 75% of the time.
• The first Bluebird Nesting Box Trail was established in Adams County, Illinois in 1934, by T.E. Musselman.
Source: WBU BOTM