Bluebird and Small Cavity Nester Conservation
Sialis - Bluebirds and other small cavity nesters
 
bluebirds

printer friendly page

Breeding Age

Question: At what age does a bluebird mate? When do they start nesting?

Male bluebird feeds female, photo by Dave Kinneer
A male Eastern Bluebird offers a mealworm treat to his mate. Photo by David Kinneer.

Most cavity nesters like bluebirds breed the year after they were born (i.e., if they are born in 2008, they will breed in the spring of 2009.) House Sparrows are an exception. They can reach sexual maturity at 9 months, which gives them a competitive advantage. (McLoughlin) Bluebirds breed in their second year, and are generally 10-11 months old (may be 1.13 years old) the first time they breed (if they can find a mate). They will breed annually thereafter.

Older birds may start nesting ahead of younger birds (especially first-time breeders.) This may be because:

  • young males have to find and establish territories, while older males may remain in or near the territory they used the previous year. Older birds may come back to the cavity they successfully used the previous year.
  • Older birds may maintain pairs during nonbreeding season, or more quickly pair up with a mate from the previous year.
  • Older birds may be in better physical condition, because they are more experienced at finding food.
  • Older birds may be more experienced at building and defending a nest.

Earlier breeders usually produce more young, and those young are more likely to survive. They have more time to grow and develop survival skills before they have to migrate or, if they are resident, before winter sets in.

References and More Information:


We are more than birdwatchers. We are cavity nester caretakers.
- E.A. Zimmerman, 2008

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 broken links/have 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.
See disclaimer, necessitated by today's sadly litigious world.
Last updated May 3, 2012. Design by Chimalis.

Chimalis