Discover Nature: Eastern Bluebirds
May 17 - May 23
Discover nature and put up a nesting box on your property for the eastern bluebird to use this week as it begins its second nesting season of the year.
Missouri is a great state for bird watching. Of the approximately 900 bird species in North America, more than 400 have been recorded in Missouri and more than 150 species regularly nest in our state.
Missouri’s state bird, the eastern bluebird - with its vivid colors - is a feast for the eyes. The combined warmth of the chestnut red chin, throat and sides with the deep blue of its head, back and wings are reminiscent of a summer sunset.
These birds will use an elevated perch to hunt insects and they also eat berries, wild grapes, sumac and currents. They prefer grasslands with scattered trees, open areas and backyards in rural areas.
The eastern bluebird competes for survival against the house sparrow and European starling and the removal of standing dead trees has reduced the availability of nesting sites for the bird. Mounted nest boxes on fence posts help to provide the birds with convenient nesting spots. A cold spell in the spring is a danger for bluebirds and they need the protection of nesting shelter to avoid freezing the eggs and the adult as they sit on their nest. A female will incubate 4 to 5 eggs for 13 to 16 days.
If you put up a nest box on your property, be sure to patrol it weekly and remove any unwanted sparrows who compete with bluebirds for nesting places.
To keep track of current natural events like when to put out a nesting box for eastern bluebirds you can get your own Natural Events Calendar from the Missouri Department of Conservation.