Column: Bluebirds should be arriving soon

According to my calendar, bluebirds should be arriving soon.

Eastern bluebird perching at Morris Wetland Management District in Minnesota. Photo by Alex Galt/USFWS.

Eastern bluebird perching at Morris Wetland Management District in Minnesota. Photo by Alex Galt/USFWS.

A prize for the eyes for any birdwatcher, bluebirds are one of the most "watchable" avian friends and are members of a very pleasant group of birds.

Mention bluebirds in a room where wildlife enthusiasts — particularly birders — abound, and you're certain to make plenty of friends.

Bluebirds are thrushes that belong to an avian family comprised of such species as American robin, Swainson's thrush, and veery. Our species of bluebird here in Minnesota is the eastern.

Two other species, the western and mountain bluebirds, are typically observed throughout western United States. Even so, all three species of bluebirds' ranges overlap and occasional hybridization occurs. Mountain bluebirds are rarely seen in Minnesota, but do in fact show up and surprise a number of birders every year. Some people have even reported mountain bluebirds nesting in the state.

The cavity nesting behavior of the eastern bluebird has made this bird vulnerable to habitat degradation and, subsequently, nest-site competition, especially from non-native species of birds like European starlings. But thankfully the birds readily accept artificial human-made structures, and hence the reason bluebirds have rebounded in some parts of its range.

And you know it's not too late to put out new nest boxes, even if a few bluebirds have already trickled into the countryside. Male birds are generally the first to arrive on the breeding grounds (though not always) and the females will soon follow. Male bluebirds will seek prospective territories or return to the same fields they occupied the year before. 

For full article, go to: DLOnline

Source, image(s), credits & more: DLOnline | Blane Klemek