The Western Bluebird is one bird you simply can not miss! These beautiful creatures are well known all across America and Mexico for their remarkable pale blue color, their migrating tendencies, and most recently, as an attraction for budding and expert bird lovers. For the past decade, many efforts have been made to invite these migratory birds to their homes, to great success. Originally from the United States, these birds can migrate as far as Mexico, and South-Eastern America when winter strikes the north. Fiercely protective of their eggs and nests, they are still very social and rely on other birds to help them defend their territories, and in turn, help by helping them hatch their eggs!
Do you think we could take a leaf out of their book and help others? They certainly can! In addition to being helpful creatures, and loving toward their family and friends, these birds are also well known for their short migratory routes and brilliant colors that leave everyone staring. Did you know, that of all the berries in and around the USA and Mexico, these birds only eat blue berries? Fun, right? If you want to know more about the Western Bluebirds and their life as a colorful migratory bird in North America, then read on! You can also read all about the pileated woodpecker and Cooper's hawk too.
What do they prey on?
Insects, berries, fruits, seeds
What do they eat?
Average litter size?
How much do they weigh?
How long are they?
How tall are they?
What do they look like?
Blue, gray, brown
What are their main threats?
What is their conservation status?
Where you'll find them
North America, Mexico
Western Bluebird Interesting Facts
What type of animal is a Western Bluebird?
The Western Bluebird (Sialia mexicana) is a type of bird.
What class of animal does a Western Bluebird belong to?
The Western Bluebirds belong to the bird class (Aves).
How many Western Bluebirds are there in the world?
According to approximations, there were around 6.7 million Western Bluebirds across the world. These numbers were very low in the 1990s. However, thanks to human efforts at providing them a home, food, and water, the population of the Western Bluebirds saw a sharp jump and continues to grow even today.
Where does a Western Bluebird live?
The Western Bluebirds live in the woods. These woods ideally are on upwards of 30 ft of elevation, with moderate tree cover, plenty of insects, and access to flowing water. However, when trying to attract them to your homes, it is ideal that the elevation should not be more than 15 ft, with plenty of cavities for them to take home in.
What is a Western Bluebird's habitat?
The Western Bluebirds live on high treetops at high elevation points, traveling to medium elevation and warmer regions when migrating. They prefer to stay in North American locations during the summer months, migrating to regions like New Mexico to set up nesting sites.
Who do Western Bluebirds live with?
The Western Bluebirds are relatively social animals. Though they will still not travel in large groups, it is not uncommon to see small groups of male Western Bluebirds gather to catch insects or for breeding seasons. They are also seen gathering in groups when migrating.
Though they have been seen traveling in groups of hundreds, such incidents are few and far between. The norm is them traveling in smaller groups of up to 50 birds at a time, and living in separate nests with their monogamous mate.
How long does a Western Bluebird live?
The Western Bluebirds live on an average of four years. Their lifespan declines in controlled captivity. In the wild, there have been rare cases of them aging up to six years.
How do they reproduce?
They reproduce by breeding. Breeding usually happened between a monogamous male and female, where the eggs take around 20 days to hatch. These young birds spend a lot of time in their nests and can fly in two weeks or less. They reach sexual maturity at one year old and now ready to parent their own young ones.
What is their conservation status?
The IUCN List has marked them of Least Concern. This is one of the few bluebird species whose population is increasing, rather than decreasing. This had not been the case until very recently. In the 1990s, the Western Bluebird witness a steep decline in their population, due to loss of habitat, global warming, and more.
However, when making nesting boxes and nest sites became a popular hobby, hope emerged. Instead of conventional forests, the Silia mexicana now made a home in human backyards, splashing in their birdbaths, and eating worms left out for them by their bipedal landlords. Now, not only are they surviving, but they are thriving.
Western Bluebird Fun Facts
What do Western Bluebirds look like?
The Western Bluebird (Sialia mexicana) is a small, fluffy thrush bird. In adult form, they are pale blue in color at the top, with their throat and surrounding areas orange-brown in shade. Further down towards their underbelly, you will be able to see shades of white and cream. Their claws are long and sharp, which they use to hold onto tree branches or to defend their nests and their young. These birds also have a very sharp, straight beak which they use to pick insects from mid-air or from the ground.
How cute are they?
Western Bluebirds are some of the cutest birds around! With its bright colors, fluffy appearance, and beautiful eyes, this bird is remarkably cute. If you ever get the chance to see it, you should definitely have a look. However, though they are sociable birds, and have friends even outside their own species, they may not be as welcoming towards humans. Do not be discouraged, though, because you can host the species Sialia in your own home with a nesting box
How do they communicate?
The bluebirds have a variety of calls. The Western Bluebird song can be as short as a single note, and as long as a series of 'fwek' sounds that can go on for several seconds. During breeding seasons, these sounds can become more intense, such as 'che-check' to keep away other male birds. They are also known for their song, which is done in an attempt to attract potential mates to them and can be heard for one mile around them.
How big is a Western Bluebird?
The Bluebirds are between 16-19 cm. The male birds are marginally larger than the female birds. Their wingspan is on the more significant side, stretching up to 30 cm.
How fast can a Western Bluebird fly?
The flying speed of the Bluebird has not been formally recorded yet. This is because speed is not something the Western Bluebirds are well known for. They do not have the stamina for long flights of migration, nor do they have the tapered wing structure required for fast flight. They have broader wings with sharp tips which enable them to beat their wings quickly.
How much does a Western Bluebird weigh?
The Bluebirds weigh between 23-32 g. The male weighs a little more than the female on average.
What are their male and female names of the species?
There is no particular name for a male Western Bluebird and a female Western Bluebird.
What would you call a baby Western Bluebird?
You can call baby Bluebirds hatchlings, but only because there is no specific name to give to them.
What do they eat?
Insects and berries form most of the Bluebirds' diet. They catch insects flying across their trees, but can also pick them off the ground.
Are they dangerous?
No, the Bluebirds are not dangerous to anyone unless it is breeding season. In breeding season, however, they can become very aggressive to any other birds that come their way. This species has been known to bite at other male birds, pin them to the ground, nip at their feathers, wings, and tail, as well as push them off tree branches.
Would they make a good pet?
No, this species would make a terrible pet for various reasons. One, it is illegal to have this species or similar species (such as the Eastern Bluebird), as pets in the first place. Other than that, these birds see a sharp decline in their quality of life and life span in captivity. Also, since these species of birds follow a migratory cycle, keeping them in one place, the entire year, can have an adverse impact on their health.
However, while you can not keep them as a pet in a cage, that is no reason why you can not see them up close. You can set up a Western Bluebird house in your own home, and if you do everything right and strike lucky, then you can have these pale blue birds in your own lawn and backyard with their young in tow. Happy bird watching!
Did you know...
These bluebirds do not work alone! There have been several recorded incidents of these blue animals making friends with other, not-so-blue birds. Creatures such as the Violet-Green Swallow, and other thrushes, can be seen defending the young ones, nest, and the eggs of these animals. In addition, there has been an episode where an injured male and female with young ones, were brought food, insects and berries, by other thrushes.
In return, we also have incidents of these birds taking care of the eggs lain by other species. In fact, out of any clutch in a Bluebird nest, at least 20% of the eggs belong to a species that is one of the many birds of North America, but not the Western Bluebird's.
The Western Bluebird's migration
This species of bird usually spends most of its year in North America, but towards their breeding season and the winter months, these birds can be seen flying to places like Baja California, southeastern U.S., Mexico, and other adjacent locations. The biggest recorded groups of these birds are several hundred in number, though the standard size is much smaller.
They set up their nest in their migration to the south, where they stay until their young are old enough to accompany them on the journey back. It should also be noted that they do not travel too far when migrating because they lack the stamina and the flight speed to do so.
Attracting Western Bluebirds
Attracting these wonderfully colored birds has caught on as a trend in North America, where creating nesting sites has become a popular hobby. With a little effort and consistent dedication, you can have these birds nest in your home too. The first step is creating nest sites for them. Since these birds primarily make a nest in cavities of trees, any man-made or natural cavities you can have would be good for them. They are called 'nest boxes'. Nest boxes are man-made cavities in which these birds can lay their eggs. There are multiple tutorials online on how to best make nest boxes all-around your property for this bird to make your house its own.
Once you have set up a home, it is time to create a water source. Usually, a birdbath along their nesting sites is enough, but this species is really attracted to flowing water so a small stream or rivulet would go a long way in attracting them. Finally, the third and best thing you can do is provide for food. Since they primarily eat berries and insects, having both in supply will really attract this species to your nest boxes and nesting sites.
There are also some things you should keep in mind when preparing for this bird to nest in your home. You might find other birds trying to nest in your nesting sites, so you need to be prepared to drive them all out from your nest boxes. When building the perfect nesting paradise, you might also be tempted to use pesticides and other chemicals to make the greenery last. Do not do so. Chemicals drive away any breeding couple, male, or female of the species away from your nest sites.
With all these steps and a vigilant watch in place, there is no reason why your nest sites should not be brimming with these young North American birds.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including secretary bird, or great green macaw.
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