Eastern Bluebird
Image by Tim Kennelty

Eastern Bluebirds on Nature Calls: Conversations from the Hudson Valley

Episode 125: Eastern Bluebirds

In this episode, Kathryn Schnieider provides lots of information about our state bird including its habits, where it lives, what it likes to eat, as well as its competitors (swallows, house sparrows and wrens) and predators (snakes, cats, raccoons and even bears). After listening to this episode, you’ll appreciate these delightful birds even more the next time you see them!

The state bird of New York is the eastern bluebird, one of the first birds to return north each spring. Bluebirds are insectivores and part of the thrush family. Three types of bluebirds inhabit the United States: the mountain bluebird (found in western North America); the western bluebird (in California, the southern Rocky Mountains, Arizona, and New Mexico in the United States), and the eastern bluebird (in the east, central, and southern US states all the way to southeastern Arizona).

In New York, you can spot eastern bluebirds sitting on telephone wires or perched on top of a nest box, calling out in short chirps, or flying around in pursuit of insects. The male Eastern Bluebirds have bright blue feathers on their backs and heads with warm red-brown ones on their breasts. Female birds are less brightly colored than males, although color patterns are similar and there is no noticeable difference in size.

If you’d like to attract a breeding pair, consider putting up a nest box, well before breeding season. They typically have more than one brood per year between March and August. Young produced in early nests usually leave their parents in summer, but young from later nests frequently stay with their parents over the winter.

Eastern Bluebirds are territorial and prefer open grassland with patchy vegetation and large trees or nest boxes. Meadows, old fields, and golf courses tend to be places they can be found. When they are not nesting, the birds roam the countryside in small flocks.

Kathryn Schneider, an author, avid birder, and a Master Gardener Volunteer, re-joins the Nature Calls: Conversations from the Hudson Valley podcast to talk all about Bluebirds. Her book, Birding in the Hudson Valley, explores Hudson Valley history, ecology, bird biology It describes sites in every county in the region, including farms, grasslands, old fields, wetlands, orchards, city parks, rocky summits, forests, rivers, lakes, and salt marshes.

Hosts: Tim Kennelty and Jean Thomas

Guest: Dr. Kathryn Schneider

Photo by: Tim Kennelty

Production Support: Linda Aydlett, Deven Connelly, Teresa Golden, Xandra Powers,  Annie Scibienski, Robin Smith



Xandra Powers
Community Horticulture Coordinator
518-828-3346 x106

Last updated June 12, 2024