Behavior & MigrationJuvenile Helpers

Juvenile Helpers

Almost all reports of Eastern Bluebird juveniles going into nesting cavities are when the adults are feeding later broods.  The juveniles “help out.” 

Birds of North America reports  it is rare to have helpers.

  • may be more likely with Western Bluebirds. 
  • Many backyard birders have seen young from previous bluebird broods helping feed their younger siblings born later in the same year.
  • Sappington (1977) reported that 2.26% of HOSP had nest-building helpers (in a 3 year study involving 221 nests), and 63.4% had feeding helpers.
  • Pinknowski reported that with bluebird helpers, many items are alive and wriggling and not put far enough down the throat of nestlings. (Pinknowski 1975).
  • Acorn woodpecker families team up to feed young.
  • See video and more info on Bluebird helpers at

It is every man’s obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what he takes out of it.
– Albert Einstein


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