Charting eggs ele
All about Birds ele/ms
Collecting data ele/ms
Nest Box Log ele/ms/hs
Life Cycles ele/ms
Mapping Birds ele/ms/hs
Feather Facts ms/hs
Scientific Thinking ele/ms/hs
Systems & Controls ms/hs
Science Journal Entry ms/hs
Make Puzzle ele/ms/hs
Ecology Vocabulary ms/hs
Other Nestbox residents:
One of our loveliest North American songbirds is the Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis). Bluebird populations declined by an estimated 90% from 1920-1970. Bluebirds were hurt by competition from introduced species (House Sparrows and starlings). Increased pesticide use also hurt many insect eating songbirds, including bluebirds.
Bluebirds have also struggled to survive due to a loss of nesting sites and open space habitat. Bluebirds are cavity nesters. Unlike their cousins the American robin, who will nest in a bush, the bluebird uses abandoned woodpecker holes or natural cavities in dying trees. Bluebirds are secondary cavity nesters . This means they can't excavate their own holes. People often cut down these dead trees. Happily, bluebirds have adapted to using nesting boxes.
Is there a place for bluebirds in your community? Bluebirds need an open, grassy habitat. They need places to perch like trees and bushes or a clothesline. They perch to hunt the ground for grubs, grasshoppers and caterpillars. The campuses of schools, community parks and cemeteries provide just such a habitat. A grassy backyard can be a great place for a bluebird nestbox.
Bluebirds are great Integrated Pest Management allies. They eat lots of harmful insects and their larva. Take care when using pesticides, when you have the blessing of bluebird neighbors. Poisoned insects also poison the birds that eat them.
Bluebirds are not the only native songbirds that will use a nestbox. Chickadees, tree swallows, sparrows, nuthatches, tufted titmice, flycatchers, and house wrens may set up housekeeping in one of the boxes.
Interestingly, cavity nesting birds will gather together in nesting boxes during winter. Scientists believe they do this to share their warmth.
Use the links and activities on the left to explore Eastern Bluebirds.
BirdSleuth: Investigating Evidence - free materials from Cornell University
Cindy O'Hora Updated 6/2009, Posted May 2002 Contact:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License.