The hubby and I have been making a concerted effort to make our yard a more welcoming place for the birds in the area. You can read about the bird feeders we have put up for the blue jays and woodpeckers. Next we have set about installing birdhouses and a feeder for the bluebirds that come here for the spring and summer. I really enjoy seeing those bright flashes of blue fly by; I know that when I see the bluebirds that spring can’t be far behind. Now I will share with you what we bought which will help you attract bluebirds to your yard.
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How to Attract Bluebirds to Your Yard
Bluebirds like open spaces with a few trees around but not heavily wooded areas. They love to have dead trees available so they can nest in holes and perch on the branches to look for food. Bluebirds mostly eat bugs and berries so having wild shrubs and grasses around makes for ideal habitat.
It’s also good to offer them a birdbath if you can (we installed a heated birdbath so we can keep it up for all the birds year round). It provides them with a source of drinking water and a place to splash around in the heat of the day. If you live near a pond or other water source even better. Even though we live on the Clark Fork River our birdbath is often occupied. It has a solar birdbath wiggler in it to keep the water moving for two reasons; to attract the birds and to keep the mosquitoes away. It works well on both counts.
The Three Types of Bluebirds
There are three distinct bluebirds; the Eastern, the Western, and the Mountain. Guess where you find each one? In all seriousness they all do have different ranges for winter, summer and breeding. Here in my little corner of Montana I mostly see Western bluebirds but the Mountain bluebird does also breed here. The Eastern bluebird doesn’t range this far. For more information on the different bluebirds and their ranges you can check out the links below:
Bluebird Nest Boxes
You want to install quality bluebird nest boxes. It should be easy to access so you can clean it out each year. It’s also important that the opening be no larger than 1 1/2″ or it will be taken over by starlings. That’s not to say that you might not have another type of bird move into your house anyway; this type of nest box is also attractive to smaller woodpeckers, nuthatches, swallows and some other small birds. Some of those birds prefer a more wooded environment but any port in a storm, right?
Here on the farm we put up 8 nest boxes. The first year 6 of the 8 were inhabited by tree swallows. While we were sad that no bluebirds moved in the swallows are happy birds and we were pleased to have them find a good home. They eat a LOT of mosquitoes so they are wonderful birds to have flying about.
Now we have bluebirds in two of the nest boxes so that is very exciting. It could be that they just needed a bit of time to figure out that the accommodations were in a good neighborhood.
What Food to Have Available to Attract Bluebirds
Bluebirds love mealworms.
Not my choice of snax but I am not a bird. We put a feeder on the end of the deck and it holds nothing but mealworms. We started by putting dried mealworms in the feeder but the whole first year not a single bluebird used the feeder.
The hubby thought maybe live mealworms All I have to say to that is yuck. But I guess if it keeps the bluebirds happy….and those live worms did the trick. They starting wriggling out of the feeder and that attracted the birds’ attention so now we see them in the feeder every morning.
We were also very excited when the adult birds started bringing the juveniles around to feed them. I love the way the baby birds ask for their dinner! The parents took turns between the suet feeder and the mealworms in feeding the little ones.
We have learned that they do like suet. Particularly insect delight suet. The bluebirds are often on the suet feeder as a pair. As the season went on and their eggs hatched we started seeing just one bird at a time until the whole family came out for a meal. The first hatch was four babies. This year they fledged two sets of new birds – the second was two babies. It was a delight for us!
Our yard is always pretty popular with the bluebirds because of the garden. They perch on the fence and watch for bugs. It’s a good idea if you are looking to attract birds that you don’t use pesticides in your garden. They do make excellent pest control!
Are You Ready to Attract Bluebirds to Your Yard?
I can tell you that they are a joy to watch. I can stand in the yard and just wait for the flits of blue to go zipping this way and that. I look for that first flash right after I see the initial robin of spring. The robins always come first, then the bluebirds. Sometimes the predictability of nature is so comforting.
Every year brings the joy of seeing the bluebirds come in and hopefully thanks to the efforts we have made we will see little bluebirds sticking their heads out of the boxes and soon flying free on their own.
Keeping Track of The Birds
One of the fun things to do once you start feeding the birds is to keep track of the different birds you start seeing in your yard. I can tell you from experience that even if you are trying to just attract bluebirds you are going to find other birds taking advantage of what you put out, like the suet and birdbath.
It is so much fun to identify new birds and a great way to keep track is with a birding log book. Some birds are only passing through as they migrate. Others stay for the summer, then there are the year round residents. As you get used to the birds in your area you begin to be able to understand when they will come back each year and you start to look forward to their return.