Bluebirds - Did You Know?
- Canada has 3 species of bluebirds—the Eastern Bluebird, the Western Bluebird and the Mountain Bluebird, which lives in Mountain View and surrounding counties.
- Mountain Bluebirds are cavity nesters although they don't make their own holes. They used to rely on abandoned woodpecker holes as well as natural cavities and holes. They've even been found nesting in old robin nests and mailboxes.
- The introduction of House Sparrows and European Starlings—along with the loss of habitat—has caused a serious decline in all species of bluebirds. When dedicated birders began establishing and maintaining Bluebird Trails, the bluebird populations began to bounce back.
- The female Mountain Bluebird lays 1 egg a day until she has 4 or 5, then begins to incubate them all at the same time. The young usually hatch within hours of each other.
- Babies are helpless when they hatch, tiny and blind. Depending on the time of year they may spend about 2 to 3 weeks in the nest.
- The scientific name for Mountain Bluebirds is Sialia curricoides. Sialia is Latin for bird. Its relatives include robins and thrushes. Mountain Bluebirds live in open areas like grasslands, meadows and pastures. Conserving those areas is important to their survival.
- Mountain bluebirds are mainly insect eaters, including beetles, grasshoppers and caterpillars. They do occasionally eat berries. Heavy snowfalls and cold weather sometimes mean starvation or abandoning eggs or chicks in the nest because food is scarce.
- Bluebirds can hover hawk-like in the air above the ground as they search for food.
- Mountain Bluebirds winter in the southwest USA and northern Mexico. Summer finds them in the northern reaches of Alaska and Western Canada.
Male Mountain Bluebird / Photo by Karen Fahrlander