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.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Fun Facts on the Eastern Bluebird

• The name “bluebird” is actually a bit misleading. Most bird colorations are due to pigments deposited in their feathers. A Northern Cardinal is red because of the red pigment called carotenoids. Crows are black because their feathers contain a dark pigment called melanin. In contrast, bluebirds do not have a single molecule of blue pigment in any of their feathers. The top transparent layer of each bluebird feather is filled with miniscule pockets of air. When sunlight strikes these pockets, all of the other visible wavelengths of light are absorbed. Only blue escapes and it is scattered in all directions for the eye to see.
• Males will carry nesting material during courtship, but the female is the one that completes the nest alone in two to five days. Bluebirds have also been observed coming and going during several weeks before completing one nest.
• Nests are light and airy, consisting of fine grass or pine needles, hair and maybe a few feathers, with a small cup shape in the center.
• Pesticides; (pyrethrins or rotenone or any others), are not recommended as bluebirds are thin skinned and sensitive to toxins.
• Swallows have been known to help bluebirds raise their young and then use the nest box once the bluebirds have fledged.

Also check out The Michigan Bluebird Society website:
http://www.michiganbluebirdsociety.org/. It is a group of individuals dedicated to helping bluebirds and other cavity nesting bird species in the state of Michigan.
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