Eastern Bluebirds (Sialia sialis) are one of the most loved birds in North America. These native songbirds have beautiful bright blue feathers and orange chests. Their peaceful and friendly nature has captured the hearts of bird enthusiasts. Many people find themselves wanting to attract these shy creatures to their yards, but don’t know where to start. If you are looking to observe the Eastern Bluebird in the wild or attract it to your feeders, we have the tips to help. So, what do Eastern Bluebirds eat?
Eastern Bluebirds mainly eat insects and berries. During the spring, summer, and fall, they can be seen surveying the ground from low perches in trees and on power lines. From here they search the ground for any insects that may be moving below. When they spot their prey, they make a dramatic slow descent, flapping their wings and tracking their prey until they can snatch them up with their beak. Common prey items are crickets, spiders, earthworms, snails, grasshoppers, and beetles.
While it’s uncommon, they won’t turn down the opportunity to eat small lizards and frogs if they can catch them as well. In the winter when insects are scarce, Eastern Bluebirds will turn their focus mostly to berries.
Eastern Bluebird in flight with cricket in beak
The exact insect species and types of berries vary depending on the location of the bird. Eastern bluebirds range as far west as Kansas, as far south as Florida and parts of Mexico, and as far north as southern Canada. If attempting to attract these native songbirds to a backyard feeder, they prefer platform feeders in open grassy areas. Here they will accept dried mealworms or insect and berry flavored suet. If you aren’t too squeamish, you can also offer them live mealworms, wax worms, butter worms, or nightcrawlers that can be purchased at most local pet stores or bait stores. Bluebirds prefer a feeder that isn’t too close to trees. Due to their small size, these birds do have lots of predators and appreciate more open spaces where they can see everything around them.
Eastern Bluebirds are truly fascinating animals that are able to be attracted to most yards in their range with a little work. Adding a specialized birdhouse can even attract a pair to nest in your yard and give you the opportunity to watch them raise their babies.
To review, the Eastern Bluebird will eat the following foods:
Eastern Bluebird eating a holly berry
Bluebirds will eat from platform feeders, but will not eat from standard seed bird feeders. If you wish to attract bluebirds to your bird feeder, you will need to supply them with either dried mealworms or live mealworms, butter worms, wax worms, or earthworms. You can buy these at your local pet, bait, or feed store. It’s recommended to start with dried and then once you see them at your feeder you can switch to live if you want.
Once you have bluebirds coming to your yard, some bird enthusiasts have also noted bluebirds enjoying suet in berry and insect flavors. So offering those in addition to the bugs can give them a more varied diet and more reasons to pay you a visit.
Eastern Bluebirds love mealworms
Bluebirds are mostly insectivores, so insects like mealworms and other worms will work to attract bluebirds to your backyard. It is also recommended that you add berry bushes to your yard for the birds to forage from during berry season and the winter. Choosing species that fruit at different times will go a long way toward making your bluebirds happy.
If trying to attract bluebirds to your yard, it’s important you abstain from using any chemical or even natural insecticides as these can harm bluebirds and their babies. Even natural insecticides are harmful as they can remove the main food source from your bird’s home.
Bluebirds prefer open spaces that are surrounded by just a few trees and ground cover. Placing your bird feeder in the middle of a grassy area of your lawn would be the ideal location. Be sure before placing a bird feeder in your yard that the birds will be safe from pests like pet or feral cats.
Baby bluebirds eat the same diet as their parents, which is insects and berries. Their parents bring them food items roughly every 15-20 minutes. Babies have voracious appetites and grow quickly, so they need to consume more food per oz than an adult bluebird. Interestingly, bluebirds can have 2-3 clutches of eggs per year and the previous hatchlings will often help to feed the new babies after they hatch. This is very helpful to the parents who are trying their best to keep their babies happy and full.
Bluebirds drink water and appreciate it when they can find fresh clean water near their nests. If you decide to provide a birdbath for the birds in your yard, be sure to keep the water clean by scrubbing the basin once a week and giving them fresh water daily. Bluebirds prefer a birdbath that has a wide base and roughly 2 inches of water for them to drink from and bathe in.
In the winter bluebirds feed primarily on berries that have been left on bushes. Providing fruit or insect suit blends during winter will make you popular among the bluebirds that roost near your house. Planting berry bushes in your yard will definitely help bluebirds to find your home more appealing. Blueberry, juniper, and black cherry are some popular choices.
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