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Nature Journal - An Eastern Bluebird foraging in the winter

The Eastern Bluebirds are one of our favorite birds. Ever since we set up the worm feeder and the birdbath, they come to visit us daily. I love their mild temper, pretty feathers, and big round eyes. This painting was done in January when food was scarce and they sometimes were foraging in our meadow area. They know there are always insects hidden under these wet and half-decomposed oak tree leaves.


watercolor eastern bluebird
Watercolor by Gloria M. 1-16-21

Did you know:


  • Eastern Bluebirds do not have real blue feathers. There is no blue pigment in birds. All the blue color that we see on a bird is created by the way the light waves interact with the microscopic structure of the feathers.


  • Eastern Bluebirds are partially migratory. They stay year-round in southeastern United States, while they leave their northern homes when food sources become scarce or when temperatures and other environmental conditions are not suitable.


  • Nestling bluebird chicks produce a fecal sac that is made of the mucous membrane. It is essentially a diaper for the parent birds to easily pick up and remove them away from the nest.


  • Eastern Bluebirds are omnivores but eat mostly insects. They largely eat insects such as caterpillars, grubs, beetles, crickets, grasshoppers, beetles, and occasionally larger prey like salamanders, snakes, and tree frogs during the summer, and a mixture of fruit and berries in winter.


  • Most of the Eastern Bluebirds are mates for life, but they are observed to be in copulation with not only one partner. This phenomenon is apparently not uncommon among bird species.


Wildlife garden tips:



1. Plant insect-hosting flowers and berried bushes as natural food resources.


2. Provide a food feeder with mealworms. The most common bird foods such as sunflower seeds, millet, and mixed birdseed won't be eaten by bluebirds,


3. Set up a broad and shallow birdbath. Clean the birdbath regularly. If your birdbath is deep, add some pebbles inside to serve as a footrest.


3. Put up nest boxes to attract Eastern Bluebirds to breed. Make sure to put it up well before breeding season.


4. Do not use pesticides. Pesticides can either poison birds directly or reduce their food and habitat resources.



Helpful Links:


A thorough introduction of Eastern Bluebirds: https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Sialia_sialis/



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