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Eastern Bluebird
(Sialia sialis)

Requirements and Limiting Factors


Eastern Bluebird Habitat Requirements Summary Table
Habitat Component Habitat Requirements
Food - Young Small, tender insects at hatching. Larger insects as maturity is reached.
Food - Adult Insects, especially grasshoppers, crickets, katydids, and beetles; and earthworms, spiders, millipedes, centipedes, sow bugs, and snails.
  Fruits of dogwood, hawthorn, wild grape, and sumac and hackberry seeds in the winter months.
  Fruits such as blackberries, bayberries, fruit of honeysuckle, Virginia creeper, red cedar, and pokeberries.
Nesting Cover Natural tree cavities, rotted stumps, wooden fence posts or artificial nesting boxes located in or in close proximity to open fields, roadsides, meadows, mowed yards, golf courses, cemeteries, or farmlands.
Brood-Rearing Cover Same requirements as nesting cover. Nestlings remain in the cavity/nest dependent on adult bluebirds until fledging roughly 15 to 18 days after hatching.
Winter Cover Nest boxes, woodland edges, fence rows, open fields, mowed yards, cemeteries, and farmlands where adequate ratios of snags exist with open grassy areas, and fruit-bearing trees and shrubs produce a food source.
Water Water requirements for bluebirds are met through daily food intake.
Interspersion Prefer a complex of open, low-growing grassy fields, either mown or growing freely, widely scattered trees, berry-producing shrubs and vines, snags, and perches in the form of trees, shrubs, utility wires, telephone poles, or fence posts.
Minimum Habitat Size 100 yards or more is required between two nesting cavities that are actively being used.

Limiting Factors

For planning purposes, use the inventory table of limiting factors below to inventory the site to determine the availability of each of the basic habitat components, based on the above narrative habitat requirement descriptions. Habitat components that are absent or rated low are limiting the habitat quality for eastern bluebirds.

Inventory of Limiting Factors
Habitat Component Availability/Quality
  High Medium Low Absent
Food        
Nesting Cover        
Winter cover (may not be applicable if eastern bluebirds do not winter in the area)        
Interspersion of habitat components        
Minimum habitat size        

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