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Eastern Bluebirds my photos, my words

Eastern Bluebirds have become a somewhat common sight in the Eastern U.S. and here in Central Ohio. But that wasn’t the case 30 years ago, when harsh winters, the destruction of natural habitat, the harmful effect of pesticides and competition with other cavity nesters combined to make the Eastern Bluebird a rare sight.

The number of Eastern Bluebirds had declined almost 90 percent from populations recorded in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The significant decline led to the Eastern Bluebird being declared a rare species in the late 1970s.

An immature Eastern Bluebird perches in a field, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.

The rebound of the Eastern Bluebird population can be credited to the efforts of wildlife enthusiasts who worked to create habitats attractive to the remaining birds. In 1978, the North American Bluebird Society was formed to encourage the installation of nest boxes. This extensive effort provided sufficient nesting locations for bluebirds as the species competes with other cavity nesters (swallows, chickadees, wrens, house sparrows, starlings) for nesting sites.

A female Eastern Bluebird takes flight in Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.

The efforts were so successful that the Eastern Bluebird was removed from the rare species list in 1996.

Bluebirds prefer to nest in open fields, meadows, hedges or gardens. Several metro parks in the Columbus area (like Sharon Woods Metro Park) have numerous nesting boxes in fields. The bluebirds can often be found perched on the boxes, on plants in the fields or on tree limbs adjacent to the fields.

A male Eastern Bluebird perches against a green background in Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge near Hilton Head Island, S.C.

The male bluebird is more colorful than the female, with deeper blue feathers on its head/back and a bright chestnut chest above a white belly. The female is more muted, with the blue feathers taking on more of a gray cast and the chestnut chest more subdued.

A male Eastern Bluebird perches on a stem in a field, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.

In recent years a growing number of Eastern Bluebirds have become year-round residents of Central Ohio in spite of the often harsh winter weather in the area. I’ve seen several bluebirds braving the snow during my winter treks through the parks.

A male Eastern Bluebird perches against a fall background, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
An immature Eastern Bluebird perches in a field, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A male Eastern Bluebird perches against a green background in Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge near Hilton Head Island, S.C.
A female Eastern Bluebird takes flight in Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A male Eastern Bluebird perches on a stem in a field, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
An immature Eastern Bluebird perches in a tree in Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A male Eastern Bluebird perches in the sun on a fall morning, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A male Eastern Bluebird perches on a thorny branch in Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
An Eastern Bluebird perches among fall leaves in Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
An Eastern Bluebird faces the sun in Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
Immature Eastern Bluebird on plant stalk, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
An immature Eastern Bluebird stays close to its mother, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A female Eastern Bluebird perches on a sapling on a fall morning, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A male Eastern Bluebird looks around outside a potential nesting site in Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A male Eastern Bluebird holds an insect while the female carries nesting material to a nesting box in Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A female Eastern Bluebird perches among berries in Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A female Eastern Bluebird hangs on an angled perch, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
Immature Eastern Bluebird stretches to see over leaves, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A male Eastern Bluebird perches against a green background, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A male Eastern Bluebird perches on a winter morning, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A male Eastern Bluebird perches atop of stem in Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A male Eastern Bluebird faces the morning sun atop a nesting box, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A male Eastern Bluebird looks around a plant stem, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A female Eastern Bluebird perches among leaves on a spring morning, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A male Eastern Bluebird stands out against a fall background, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A male Eastern Bluebird perches among thorns, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A female Eastern Bluebird carries a moth, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
An immature Eastern Bluebird perches on top of a plant, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A male Eastern Bluebird balances on a stem, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A male Eastern Bluebird checks a potential home in a hollow tree, Slate Run Metro Park, Canal Winchester, Ohio.
A male Eastern Bluebird looks to its right, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
Male Eastern Bluebird perched above field, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
Immature Eastern Bluebird on a rail fence, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
Male Eastern Bluebird on plant stem, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
Male Eastern Bluebird resting on branch, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A male Eastern Bluebird looks from its nest in a hollow tree, Slate Run Metro Park, Canal Winchester, Ohio.
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Created By
Pat Hemlepp
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All photos and text © Copyright - Pat D. Hemlepp. All rights reserved.

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