Bluebirds are one of America’s favorite birds. However, they aren’t always the easiest birds to attract because of their preferred habitat requirement and favorite foods. Luckily for birdwatchers, that doesn’t mean you can’t successfully attract these special birds to your yard. So read on to learn how. The following tips on how to attract Bluebirds will attract Eastern Bluebirds as well as Western Bluebirds and if you’re lucky enough, maybe even a Mountain Bluebird.
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How To Attract Bluebirds To Your Yard – 7 Expert Tips
1. Provide The Right Food
One of the challenges in attracting Bluebirds is that they don’t care much for the seeds that most people set out in their yards to feed birds. So what attracts bluebirds? Well, let’s start by learning about their natural diet.
Bluebirds are mostly insectivorous, which means they feed on insects like caterpillars, beetles, bees, crickets, and grasshoppers. In the winter, insects become scarce and bluebirds then turn their attention more towards fruits and berries such as Blackberries, Serviceberries, Wild Holly, and Dogwood berries.
The best and easiest food to offer bluebirds is mealworms which you can buy freeze-dried or fresh. It is also possible to breed your own mealworms for a steady supply. Bluebirds will also feed on suet cakes and fruit sometimes so it’s a good idea to set these foods out as well.
2. Use The Right Kinds Of Feeders
Window feeders, platform feeders, and oriole feeders will all work for attracting and feeding Bluebirds. The most important thing is that the feeder can attract Bluebirds with mealworms or other food they like. Bluebirds aren’t the only kinds of birds that enjoy mealworms of course, and you might attract a variety of other delightful insect-eating songbirds.
Unwanted birds like starlings often dominate the feeders and eat up all the food before the Bluebirds get a chance and for this reason, some clever bluebird-specific feeders have been designed.
3. Put Your Feeders In the Right Places
Attracting Bluebirds to your feeders isn’t only about putting out the right foods. You should also do your best to set out your feeders in the right place. Set your Bluebird feeders near a good perching site like an overhead line or a post, especially if you’ve seen one of these birds in that spot before.
It’s a good idea to set your feeder on a bird feeder pole, at least 5 feet above the ground to keep the birds safe from cats and other predators. Set the pole up a good few feet away from dense cover for added protection from stalking felines, but also not too far from cover so the birds have a chance of escaping flying predators like Sharp-shinned Hawks.
4. How To Attract Bluebirds With The Right Plants
Attracting Bluebirds to your backyard can be as simple as having the right sort of habitat in your neighborhood. The Bluebird habitat requirement is for open, grassy areas with perching sites like scattered trees and poles for them to hunt from. Even if your yard doesn’t quite fit this description, you could still attract Bluebirds if that kind of habitat exists near your property.
As you know, Bluebirds feed on a lot of fruits and berries in the winter months and the following list includes a bunch of different plants that you can grow in your yard to provide a natural healthy source of food.
- Black cherry
- Wild Holly
5. Set Up A Bird Bath
Like most birds, Bluebirds love to bathe and will enjoy a cool drink of water from your yard as well. To attract these birds with water, go ahead and supply them with a shallow source of fresh water like a hanging bird bath. In areas that experience cold winters, you may need to consider a heated bath to keep the water from freezing over every day.
One thing you can do to make your birdbath even more attractive to Bluebirds is to put in a solar water fountain. These easy-to-use devices keep the water fresher for longer and are very visually appealing to the birds which are also attracted to the sound of running water.
6. Provide A Nesting Site
Putting up a few nest boxes is a great way to attract Bluebirds, and what a privilege it is to have a pair breed right in your very own backyard. Be sure to get a good quality wooden nest box that you can open to inspect. This is an important feature because you might need to remove unwanted house sparrow nests before their eggs are laid.
The best nest boxes for Bluebirds are made from long-lasting wood like cedar. They should be built with thick enough timber to provide good insulation and be deep enough to allow the birds to build up a comfortable grass nest.
Choose a nest box that has an entrance with a diameter of 1.5 inches to keep out larger, unwanted bird species. Where there are no nest boxes available, bluebirds nest in natural cavities in dead trees, so if you have any dead trees on your property, consider leaving them in place to provide natural nesting sites.
7. Put Your Nest Boxes In The Right Places
The best place to set up your Bluebird nest boxes is on solidly planted free-standing poles in open areas. Bluebird houses set on poles can be more easily protected from predators like snakes and raccoons by using a good-quality squirrel baffle.
In the Springtime, both male and female Bluebirds will work to build up a soft nest of grass inside the birdhouse. They will start looking for a nest site weeks before this time so make sure you have your nest boxes out earlier in the winter. It is best to set up your Bluebird nest boxes about 5 feet above the ground
Bluebirds aren’t the only birds that will nest in these boxes so don’t limit yourself to a single nest box. By setting out a few boxes, you can limit competition between Bluebirds and other cavity-nesting birds like Chickadees, Tree Swallows, and unfortunately, pesky House Sparrows too.
What kind of food attracts Bluebirds?
The best food to attract Bluebirds is mealworms. These birds will also eat suet, fruits, and occasionally seeds. In nature, these birds rely on insects and wild fruits and berries.
What is the best feeder for Bluebirds?
Bluebirds can be fed with a few different styles of bird feeders such as platform feeders, window feeders, and oriole feeders, although specialized feeders for Bluebirds are also available. These feeders have circular entrances that bluebirds will enter, but other nuisance birds like starlings usually don’t.
Which way do you face a bluebird house?
The best directions to face your Bluebird house are east or north. Although they may move into a birdhouse that faces any direction, south and west-facing nest boxes are not preferred, probably because of the strong, direct sunlight that shines in through the entrance.
Now that you’ve learned 6 great tips on how to attract Bluebirds to your yard, I must add just one more piece of advice, have patience! If you’ve done everything right it should be only a matter of time for these wonderful birds to find your yard and share your space. Happy birdwatching!