Things we love

female eastern bluebird

Bluebirds in the afternoon, Monday’s calm before the storm.

They catch my eye when I’m in the kitchen or passing the sliding glass door and send a bright little bolt of happiness my way. Zing!

I am not the only birdwatcher besotted with bluebirds.

From Why we get goopy over bluebirds, by E.A. Zimmerman

Bluebirds are associated with hope, happiness and things we love. WL Dawson wrote “Reflecting heaven from his back and the ground from his breast, he floats between sky and earth like the winged voice of hope.” They have probably appeared in more songs, poems and literature than any other bird.

male bluebird dome feeder

Bluebirds are family oriented. The courting male dotes on the female, waving his wings, enticing her to select a nest site, and offering her treats. He courageously guards the box during nest construction. He delivers food to the incubating female, and participates equally in feeding nestlings and fledglings. Both parents will die defending their young from House Sparrows. After fledging, young birds tend to stay with their parents, begging for food, and sometimes altruistically helping tend to siblings in a second brood.


Their song is enchanting. The velvety undertones are “…so soft and gentle; they sing to no one save themselves. Not loud and boastful like the mocker; not full of chatter like the purple martin. The bluebird song is a kind and personal “I love you” that one must be close and quiet to hear.”


Bluebirds do no harm. In the days before pesticides, farmers put up nestboxes around their fields, as they were aware that bluebirds eat many insects, and the fruit they eat during the winter is not of the cultivated variety. While bluebirds will compete for nesting sites and defend their own abode, they do not maliciously attack other birds, eggs or nests.


Attracting bluebirds is a challenging hobby. Since the number of natural cavities has dwindled and competition from exotic species like House Sparrows and starlings is severe, bluebirds depend on humans to survive and thrive. Because of this, we feel an almost parental sense of ownership and satisfaction when we enable successful nesting. Bluebirding taps into problem solving skills and creativity, scientific curiosity, and a love of nature and the outdoors.


Bluebirds are friendly. They seem to almost enjoy human company. They display no fear of nesting near human habitation. They tolerate monitoring of their nests as we peek in to see their fuzzy-headed hatchlings. They quickly learn an association, whether it be a whistle or a banging door, with a mealworm feeder being filled, and instantly show up to investigate. If we do not fill the feeder in a timely manner, they may follow us around the yard, warbling away.

So true! I am goopy over bluebirds too.

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