My last post was about the Indigo Bunting. This post is about another bird of the blue persuasion, the Eastern Bluebird. This common bird is not a threatened species at the moment but the numbers are declining due to habitat loss, pesticide use and competition from other species like Starlings. The use of nesting boxes with entry holes specifically sized for Bluebirds and preservation of habitats are helping to ensure their survival. They prefer meadows surrounded by trees that have nesting spots such as old Woodpecker holes. Nesting boxes placed along the edge of a farm field or golf course are nice human supplied habitats. These are photos of a probable family that I observed a few days ago. All three were in fairly close proximity to each other and some nest boxes.
The male is a sky blue color with an red-brown throat and chest.
The female has less blue and is gray on her upper body. The red-brown chest is a bit more subdued as compared to the male.
Juveniles remind us that Bluebirds are members of the Thrush family. They have the spotted patterns that all thrushes have, even though the adults lose this pattern entirely. This is reminiscent of the American Robin where young Robins are spotted like most Thrushes but the adults are not. American Robins are not related to European Robins who are Flycatchers. European colonists might have been a little homesick for their familiar Robin and bestowed the name on the red-orange breasted bird they found in their new home.
There are two other Bluebirds in North America. I took these pictures in New Mexico some years ago. The Western Bluebird has a blue throat in contrast to the red-brown coloration that extends past the chest to include the throat of the Eastern Bluebird.
The Mountain Bluebird males are a more uniform shade of blue with a pale underside. The lighting makes this male appear lighter overall.