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An eastern bluebird perches on a branch, patiently watching the ground below. Suddenly it spots a beetle. The bird spreads its bright blue wings, flies to the ground, and gobbles up the small insect. Then the colorful flier returns to its perch to wait for its next snack.
WHERE THEY LIVE
Eastern bluebirds can be found in the eastern parts of North and Central America from southern Canada into the country of Nicaragua. They also dwell on the islands of Cuba and Bermuda. The eastern bluebird is the state bird of New York and Missouri. These birds can often be found on trees or fences that border meadows, scanning the clearings for food.
WHAT THEY LOOK LIKE
The bird has a round belly, long wings, and short legs. Its black bill is short and straight. Male eastern bluebirds are easily identified by their bright blue heads and wings. Females sport duller colors, with grayish heads and backs and bluish wings. Both males and females have a rust-colored throats and white stomachs.
WHAT THEY EAT
More than half of an eastern bluebird’s diet consists of beetles, crickets, grasshoppers, and caterpillars. When the weather is cooler and insects are scarce, it’ll also eat fruits and berries.
WHAT EATS THEM
Snakes, cats, black bears, raccoons, and other birds such as house sparrows hunt adult and baby eastern bluebirds. Eastern chipmunks and flying squirrels like to eat eastern bluebird eggs.
HOW THEY BEHAVE
These birds are skilled fliers with incredible vision. They can spot an insect on the ground from 60 feet away. Eastern bluebirds often sing, using their voices to stay in touch with flock members. They also use vocalizations to warn predators to stay away from their small, cup-like nests that are usually built inside old woodpecker holes. Eastern bluebird eggs are pale blue. Most fledglings, or baby birds, leave the nest about three weeks after they hatch, but some stay to help their parents with the next batch of eggs.
Text by April Capochino Myers