Creature Feature

Creature Feature – Bluebirds in Winter

Posted by  //  January 13, 2023  //  Articles, Creature Feature

Perhaps you’ve seen one or more bluebirds flitting about this winter and wondered why they didn’t fly the coop for warmer climes.  After all, many eastern bluebirds migrate in autumn from breeding grounds in the northern part of their range, winging it to the southeastern U.S. and sunny Mexico.  Ornithologists confirm that while this migratory behavior is typical, some small flocks of bluebirds choose to stay behind each winter.  You might also wonder what these beauties eat throughout the barren months of the year.  During the winter, bluebirds mainly feed on fruits and berries clinging to native plant species like red cedar, dogwood, junipers, service and elderberries, sumac, hollies, and wild grape.    

There are a few ways you can attract and support bluebirds year round.  For example, plant native trees and shrubs that bear fruit, and provide fresh, clean water in a maintained bird bath throughout the winter—adding a feature to make the water trickle or spray is attractive to this species.  Also, avoid using pesticides and other chemicals on your lawn, as bluebirds feast on insects found at or near the ground during warmer months.  Although some experts recommend removing nesting boxes in the fall, a snug cavity to spend cold nights is crucial to winter survival for bluebirds.  You may discover they are roosting in your nesting boxes—if so, enjoy the wonderful opportunity to observe these colorful birds in the dead of winter.

Article & photos by Margie Manthey

Leave a Comment

comm comm comm