bedazzling creatures. This website was developed as a resource
for people interested in helping bluebirds and other native cavity-nesters survive and thrive. See the Site Map (index) or Pulldown (Jump) Menu for an alphabetical list of topics covered.
An Eastern Bluebird incubating her eggs.
Photo by Bet Zimmerman. See larger version.
: Red-breasted Nuthatch Bio | Lucy's Warbler Bio | Nesting in a mailbox tube | Hunting behavior of Eastern Bluebirds | Floyd Van Ert | You know you're a bluebirder when... | Picture of the week | Video of the Month | FAQs | How does a bird embryo breathe inside the egg? | Is it safe to use nestboxes made from pressure-treated wood? | C ooperative Breeding and Feeding | Do babies return to the nest after fledging? | Why do birds eat grit? | and a whole lot more.
Note: This website is named for the Eastern Bluebird,
Sialia sialis, pronounced cee-AL-ee-a cee-AL-iss.)
Info: Basic information on how to
attract nesting bluebirds,
including do's and don'ts and a nesting
timetable. A good starting
point for beginners.
Bottom Line Advice for new bluebirders. A four page
handout to give out with nestboxes How and why to
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Bluebirding
Top tips and tricks to attract bluebirds (proven and experimental.) Birdbaths. Common
myths about bluebirding
All about Eastern Bluebirds (Biology)
Nestbox Plans - links to plans for boxes you can make yourself
Nestbox Styles - Pros and Cons (a work in progress)
Nestbox Specifications (size, entrance hole, height) for various cavity nesters
Preferred nesting habitat, by cavity nester species, with links to Breeding Bird Survey maps
10 Steps to a Bluebird Trail - how to get started
Free handouts and resources for bluebird talks/booths
How to clean out a nestbox Ranges: Maps showing
Eastern Bluebird winter and summer range. Also links to Breeding Bird Survey maps for all other small cavity nesters My
theories on why we are so fascinated by bluebirds.
How long does it take to build a nest and lay eggs (factors involved and timetables)
Fall and winter bluebirding
Books and magazines on cavity nesters, general ID, for children, magazines with reviews
Quotes related to bluebirding (good for newsletters etc.)
Bluebirding Blues - the down side you usually learn the hard way
Bluebird names and species - common names, scientific names, subspecies, distinguishing between species, state bird designations, bluebird stamps A
glossary with key bluebirding terminology and ornithological definitions associated with bluebirds and other cavity-nesting birds
Facts about feathers
Not all blue eggs are bluebird eggs
Do no harm
- locate wildlife rehabber near you, what to do if you find an orphaned bird, baby bird on the ground, egg on the ground, or injured or sick bird. Bluebird Emergencies
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
A handout that can be given to people with a nestbox, or used by bluebird organizations (just add your logo.) The Bluebird Nut Cafe has also developed a general pamphlet that you can view or print for
people who might be interested in putting up a nestbox/trail. Another handout is available for people who have birdhouses being used by House Sparrows. See other handouts here.
Behavior: Alerting Humans to Problems, Allofeeding (sharing food), Anting, Battles, Birdality, Bluebirds reappear in the fall, Breeding Age, Longevity, Competition, Differences among cavity nesters, Drumming by woodpeckers, Flocking, Helping, Hissing, Mating, Premature fledging, Removing Fecal Sacs, Widows, Window Strikes
Biology: by species see Other Cavity Nesters, Egg Production, Preferred nesting habitat Bluebird Bios (All about):
Eastern | Mountain | Western
Children's Bluebirdy Activities:
Coloring pages, nursery rhyme, games (the wrong
nestbox, compare the nestboxes, match
birds with their nests, put bluebirds in sequence from
egg to adult), a scavenger hunt, quilt patterns, origami, children's
books on bluebirding, Native American story, Bird's Nest Parfait story, etc.
Conferences: Notes from NABS 2006, NABS 2008
Diet: What do bluebirds eat? | Feeding | Suet | Planting for | Crickets
Eggs: production, number of eggs laid, first egg, rotation, hatching, unhatched eggs, egg binding and calcium deficiency, weird eggs, egg sizes, c omparison photos, n est and egg ID, white bluebird eggs, not all blue eggs are bluebird eggs.
Feeding: Mealworms (with
plans for a simple feeder), and suet recipes. How to raise your own mealworms. Supplementing calcium by offering crushed eggshells.
Glossary | Acronyms related to bluebirding
Information on the Magic Halo developed by the University of Nebraska
to deter House Sparrows from bird feeders.
Heat: Experimental shields in Texas to protect nestlings from high temperatures. Birdbaths.
House Sparrows (HOSP) :
How to Make (DIY) :
for Bluebirds: List
of non-invasive plants that produce berries eaten by bluebirds.
Resources: A comprehensive list of resources on bluebirds; links to information on identification, bluebird organizations,
feeding, nestboxes, predators and parasites; and more. Reviews and
sources of books on bluebirding and birding.
a dozen common misconceptions about bluebirds and bluebirding
Nests and Eggs: A guide to recognizing nests and eggs of other cavity nesters that may use bluebird nestboxes (I can't help you with eggs from open cup nesting birds/found on ground). Also see:
Other Cavity Nesters (attracting,
nesting time tables, photos of nests/eggs/young, monitoring, other info):
Nestbox specifications for various species of cavity nesters
Differences between bluebirds and other small cavity nesters
Cooperative care and feeding between species
Bluebird Battles (photos of bluebirds fighting with other cavity nesters and other bluebirds)
Competition (who trumps who when it comes to claiming and retaining a nestbox)
Preferred nesting habitat, by species, with links to BBS maps
Bats in a nestbox Bewick's Wren
Black-capped Chickadees - Biology, Photos Bluebirds -
Eastern | Mountain | Western
Bumblebees Carolina Chickadee -
Photos Carolina Wren -
Biology | Photos
Downy Woodpecker Biology
Eurasian Tree Sparrows (cousins to HOSP, only in MO and IL)
European (Common) Starlings - Biology, Photos
Crested and Ash-Throated). Biology, ATFL photos, GCFL photos Flying Squirrels -
Biology, Photos House Finch -
Biology | Photos House Sparrows -
Biology, Photos, Controlling House Wrens -
Biology, Photos, Deterring, Another Perspective Juniper Titmouse -
Lucy's Warbler - Biology
Mice and Rats Mountain Bluebirds -
Photos | Biology Mountain Chickadees -
Not all blue eggs are bluebird eggs
Oak Titmouse nests and eggs
Prothonotary warblers - Biology | Photos of nests, eggs and young
Squirrels, Red Squirrel Biology
Starlings (European), Biology, Photos Tufted Titmouse:
Tree Swallows: Biology, Photos, Picture of 2 different size nestlings in one nest. Tree Swallow adult photos. Also see Pairing Nestboxes and Kinney (four hole) TRES box design. Grid nestbox placement.
Tufted and Black-crested Titmice. Interesting video clip of hissing titmouse.
Violet-green Swallows -
Biology | Photos Western Bluebirds -
Photos | Biology
White-breasted Nuthatches - Biology, Photos
Other blue birds (not bluebirds)
Picture of the Week with explanatory info
Video of the Month ( submittals welcome!)
Tips of photographing cavity nesters
Photo album of cavity nesting adults, nests and eggs including Eastern, Mountain and Western Bluebirds.
Cavity nester photo series (nests, eggs and young)
- see list of Other Cavity Nesters above
Bluebirds from egg to empty nest, with a runt who lagged behind
Bluebird Battles (aerial battles with HOSP, Starlings, Cowbirds, etc.)
Birdcams, Birdcam Photo Album
Links to other sites with albums.
Nestbox cams set up; 2006 blog | 2007 blog | 2008 blog
Birdcam set up (exterior, motion activated still camera)
Wall of Shame: Photos of commercial establishments with HOSP breeding and/or feeding at their facilities.
Unusual nest sites - metal poles, breaker boxes, etc.
for educational programs Presentation Materials and Handouts
Problems and Solutions :
Problem or Predator ID: Chart listing predators/problems, signs, and solutions
Predator Guards to deter climbing raccoons, snakes, cats (PVC and Stovepipe): Conical | Hutchings | Noel | Wobbling Stovepipe
General information on a variety of topics like ants, blow flies, etc.
Anting or Sunbathing
Ants in a nestbox
Battles between bluebirds and other birds Baffles and Predator Guards -
Wobbling Stovepipe/Kingston, Conical, Noel, Hutchings
Bears - Preventing Attacks (nestboxes and nestlings)
Black flies/Turkey or Buffalo Gnats
Cats - Protecting cavity nesters from
Convincing someone to monitor their nestboxes
Cowbird egg in nestbox
Dead Tree Swallow (adult or nestling) in box
Do no harm Dummy or abandoned nests
Egg binding and calcium deficiency
Fecal glue in a nestbox
Hole restrictors/reducers/guards and Hole Size Tests
HOSP management: ID, the problem, active and passive management choices
House Wrens - deterring. Also see HOWR Biology, Video of Egg Attack, and Another Perspective.
How to do a nest change
How to make kerfs on a nestbox (to enable fledging)
How to make a Hutchings Guard
Incubation - can you incubate an egg you found
Lyme disease and bluebirding (prevention, symptoms, etc.)
Mice and rats in nestboxes
Pairing nestboxes (when Tree Swallow populations are high)
Paperwasps (European and Native)
Predator Guards - pros and cons
Premature Fledgling, Preventing during monitoring
Unhatched eggs/infertile eggs
Vandalism on the trail - Preventing
Widows, Widowers, Orphaned Nestlings
Window strikes - Preventing
Resources: Great links and resources, glossary, book reviews, suppliers of bluebird-related products, ideas for nature-related gifts, NABS Notes 2006 | NABS Notes 2008
- alphabetical listing of topics and Site Map Search function
A collection of easy recipes that bluebirds and other birds will
Links to sources of Suppliers/Retailers books, videos, mealworms,
gifts, nestboxes, nestbox cameras, traps, etc. A list of nature-related gift ideas.
All are located
in northeastern CT.
Layout and results for the Chimalis bluebird trail
Robert V. Smith Memorial Bluebird Trail at a closed CT landfill A new experimental "
Hill Trail" was started in 2007 A fourth trail in
Roseland Park was "adopted" in 2008. A golf course trail across the street is only checked once a year.
Trail logs show box by box results, and Trail Reports summarize results and lessons learned. There's also info
about me and why I am a bluebirder
Video Clip of the Month - featured short video clips of cavity nesters ( submittals welcome!) Also see my nestcam blogs: 2007 | 2008 | 2009
Wrens: information on deterring House Wrens if they are destroying eggs of other cavity-nesters. Also see All About House Wrens (biology)
of Bluebird_L Classifieds: A separate website that captures postings
from the Cornell Bluebird Listserv, categorized them by hundreds
of topics. The archives contain a wealth of information from experienced bluebirders.
About this website :
May all your blues be birds!
- Bet Zimmerman
| HOME Basics | Resources | House Sparrows | House Wrens | Nest/Egg ID | Site Map and Search | Suet
Recipes | Tree Swallows | Contact me Bluebird Conservation
May all your blues be birds!
If you experience problems with the website/find
suggestions/corrections, please contact me!
The purpose of this site is to share information with anyone interested
in bluebird conservation.
Feel free to link to it (preferred as I update content regularly), or use text from it for personal or educational
purposes, with a link back to http://www.sialis.org or
a citation for the author.
No permission is granted for commercial use.
Appearance of automatically generated Google or other ads on this site does not constitute endorsement of any of those services or products!
Photo in header by Wendell Long.
© Original photographs
are copyrighted, and may not be used without the express permission of the photographer. Please honor their copyright protection.
necessitated by today's sadly litigious world.
April 17, 2021. Design by Chimalis.