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, June 20, 2015

Some reasons why my bluebirds didn’t return

I have had bluebirds for a number of years. This year I have had none. I am wondering if something has happened.

During breeding season Eastern Bluebirds are typically found in open habitats with scattered trees and shrubs. The trees provide cavities for shelter and the shrubs are good perches to hunt insects. In the spring and summer they feed mainly on insects, often watching from a low perch and then fluttering down to take bugs from the ground. Lawns sprayed with pesticides will be avoided.

Bluebirds are secondary cavity nesters because they nest only in cavities that have been excavated first by another species. Historically, they nested in old woodpecker holes, but today they nest successfully in artificial nest boxes (bird houses).

With the right habitat, if you provide the right food, such as mealworms, and have open water, like bird baths, you may see them.

Seven Tips to Attract Bluebirds  
  1. Proper habitat - Bluebirds prefer open areas with low grass and perches from which they can hunt insects. 
  2. Provide shelter - Dead trees provide important nesting and roosting sites for bluebirds or add a bluebird box for housing. 
  3. Go native - Natural foods, such as fruits, nuts and seeds provided by trees, shrubs, grasses, and flowers will attract a variety of songbirds. Planting highbush cranberry, dogwoods, or other fruiting shrubs on your property may draw migrants as well as resident bluebirds. 
  4. Add water - Bluebirds love to bathe. Water is a powerful attractor and will increase the number and variety of birds coming to your yard. 
  5. All weeds and bugs aren’t bad - Healthy lawns contain a variety of insects for a bluebird to glean from the ground. Pesticides and other lawn chemicals are dangerous for birds. 
  6. Cats indoors - Even the sweetest cats still have the instincts of their wild ancestors. Each year, cats kill millions of songbirds. It is best to keep your cats indoors. 
  7. Offer mealworms - Feeding live mealworms (Tenebrio monitor) as a special treat has become a very popular way to attract a different variety of wild birds.

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