Bluebirds are a member of the Thrush family related to the American Robin. Three bluebirds make their home in North America: The Eastern Bluebird, The Western Bluebird and the Mountain Bluebird. The bluebird is very beneficial to us, eating large quantities of insects, such as cutworms and grasshoppers, considered damaging to our crops and gardens. These beautiful birds were once very common in the United States. However, over the last century their numbers have diminished due to loss of natural habitat, overuse of pesticides and predators.
Identification, Range and Habitat
EASTERN BLUEBIRD: 5-7", male bright blue on back, wings and tail, throat and most of underparts orange-rusty, white belly. Female paler, back tinged with brown, throat rusty. Found in most of Eastern U.S. Prefers open country, farmlands, orchards, open woodlands and sparse trees on mountain slopes.
WESTERN BLUEBIRD: 5-7", male bright blue on head, wings, tail and throat, center of back and most of underparts orange-rusty, belly white. Female sooty gray above with dull blue wings and tail. Range is the rocky mountain states and west. Prefers open pine forests, farmlands and bushy deserts in winter.
MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD: 6-7 1/2", male is turquoise blue with a lighter blue breast and white belly. Female grayish brown, wings and tail blue. Found from the eastern foothills of the Rocky mountains west to the Pacific Coast. Prefers high open mountain country in summer, plains and prairies in winter.
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