Eastern Bluebird

The bird that most hope to see and those who are lucky never forget, the Eastern Bluebird can be seen perched on power lines or nest boxes along grassy edges of open woodlands. Seeing the bright blue and warm orange of the male is a real treat!

More information

See the Eastern Bluebird's profile on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website.

Photo Credits

Cover photo: By Flying822 at English Wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Collage Photo (above): By Richard Crossley (Richard Crossley) CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Poem

Slippery Tin
—A Malay Pantoum—

I built a bluebird house from scrap cedar;
the house was hung in my backyard.
My father called last year and told me
he’d lost his job; he’s got no retirement. 

The house was hung in my backyard.
I forgot to wrap the post with slippery tin.
He’d lost his job; he’s got no retirement.
Years before, he’d driven us both to school.

I forgot to wrap the post with slippery tin.
The bluebirds wove a nest and laid eggs.
Years before, he’d driven us both to school;
He was a teacher and coach; I was his pupil.

The bluebirds wove a nest and laid eggs.
Soon, the eggs were loud, hungry mouths.
He was a teacher and coach; I was his pupil.
Now I’m a professor with my own students.

Soon, the eggs were loud, hungry mouths.
and the raccoon shimmied up the post.
Now I’m a professor with my own students,
and I can’t tell my father I’m not ashamed.

And the raccoon shimmied up the post,
destroying the nest and the fledglings.
And I can’t tell my father I’m not ashamed,
I can’t tell him I regard him with pride.

he leaves for boot camp
baby bird
falls from the nest

"We get a lot of bluebirds around here."
"They're real jerks."
"Naw, you're thinking of blueJAYS."
"Riiiight, blueJAYS are the jerks."
"A real buncha jerks."
 

orange-breasted Eastern Bluebird
no, rust-breasted
no, tan
well, the blue is blue
azure
no, cornflower
on a hot June day
hot for early June
at least 'round here
in the humid fuming city
where you perch
on that leaning post at the edge 
of mind’s wide shimmering field

 

Bluebirds are blue, 
just like the sky
and they aren't shy.
They like to soar in the sky.
Don't blink because 
you might miss 'em.
Bluebirds are the best 
because one day you're gonna have to
take a test to see who's 
the best bird out there.
Bluebirds eat seeds and worms
to feed their babies.
Make sure you have some 
around your house!
Bluebirds are beautiful!
Any bird can show you who you are.
And that's the word.
Bird is the word.
Mic drop.

Bluebirds are 
beautiful teach a
bluebird how
to teach a little
math and a 
little science

Bluebirds are pretty and smart.
Booooooooo birds booooooooo
BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
Can you hear me!!!
Bluebirds eat worms.
Worms taste like worms.
"Would you ever eat a worm, Sina?"
"Yes."
Bluebirds eat watermelon.
They eat seeds. 
Bluebirds are smart.
Bluebirds are cool.
Bluebirds eat blueberries!! :)
I only eat three blueberries.
Bluebirds like to eat.
Bluebirds like to play.

 

FUN FACTS
Bluebirds are still here because we make boxes for them, which they call home. How nice of us! What about humans who do not have boxes because they are too poor? Let’s make them boxes to call home. Perhaps out of giant gourds, hung from giant limbs. Bluebirds can spot a worm from 50 away, though it’s estimated 70% of bluebirds die before their first birthday. Why, with their homes and good eyes, so much death for the bird of happiness? A male bluebird can sing as many as 1,000 songs in one hour. With 8760 hours in a year, that’s 8,760,000 songs sung in the short life of the beloved bluebird.

 

There's no signature Beatles song
With an Eastern Bluebird
If there was it'd be sung by John
With lots of made-up words

Bloo Chappie Chirp Wing sings all day
Sad as Edith Piaf
Grateful to not be a blue jay
With a half-full carafe

La beauté de l'oiseau bleu 
Est moins dans sa chanson 
Et plus dans l'insouciance de Dieu
Et son uniforme mignon

 

BLUEBIRDS VS BARN SWALLOWS 
Bluebirds looks like barn swallows
from the neck up. I want to rhyme 
here—like how the royal blue feathers 
of the bluebird and the barn swallow
rhyme in the eye, same as the sunset 
umber feathers on their chests.

They both build nests in holes they find.
Imagine finding your home like car keys
or a ring—does it sparkle or hum or 
whisper or echo with yips of your not-yet babies. You've darted through this field 
so many times, inhaling bugs, and home's been here the whole time.
There's another rhyme: home 
is in the bones. Their tails, though, 
are watches telling different times.

 

I buy mealworms (live--
they live in the fridge behind the counter 
at the bird-food store) for my mother
because she's helping out a family of five.
Each morning she dumps the segmented, cold-dulled offerings
into a stainless steel bowl propped up near the bluebirds' house,
retreats to the driveway (her nightgown
poofed up in the cool morning air) and rings the bell
hard--a racket--a demand, really,
that the mother and father attend
not only to the beaks--open, up and hungry
in the nest they wove--but to her own:
that each spring, the bluebirds come
lay their eggs where she can see
and allow her to wriggle her invisible hand
into the fledglings' first flight.

 

TO A BLUEBIRD
Science tells us that you aren’t really blue
that red and yellow birds get their pigments
from the foods they eat.
But no bird, says science,
can make blue pigment
even on a diet of blueberries juniper berries huckleberries Logan berries.
Instead, science says,
blue is simply the result of the arrangement of protein molecules in your feathers
and the way light waves interact with them.
If you think about it
a blue bird that isn’t really blue is something of a miracle
a magic trick of the light
something mysterious and wonderful.
A Gift.
Perhaps this is one of those times that
science and nature part ways
amicably, of course,
and agree to disagree.
Because whatever science says to the contrary
You’ll always be blue to me.

 

Flash of blue
streaks through the leaves
a recycler of used nests
and foe to berry and bug
sturdy enough to endure a prairie winter
or a Mexican migration

 

ARE THESE THE ONES?
The a$$holes of the bird world? Or is that the blue jay? I think it's the blue jay I'm thinking of. Poor guy...getting confused for an a$$hole like the good one of my two ex-boyfriends named John.

 

While bluejays are frequently mistaken for a$$holes, in reality...nah, they're total a$$holes. Visit the bluebird's Go Fund Me page where you can contribute to the "Not All Blue Birds are Bluebirds" campaign.

 

the stream babbled as I walked on the moss-covered path
wood thrushes popped out in view
their competitive flute solos echoed in my chest and stirred my loneliness away
the path gave way to sand and gravel
grasslands surrounded me on all sides

for two years I attempted to entice a pair of eastern bluebirds with a strategically placed nestbox
fitted with a guard to deter predators
I left the insect population to thrive uninhibited
today I was rewarded with an uninterrupted serenade of striped ground crickets
the heat of the summer’s day quickened the pace of their song and heightened their pitch

I turned to follow the subtle shadow flying over the grasses
the rusty breast and cobalt blue jacket were unmistakable
the male bluebird landed on the box’s roof, his beak full of chartreuse inchworms
my heart grew heavy, as I knew I had to keep watch on the nestbox all season
to guard against vicious house sparrows and starlings
in the past these colonizers smashed bluebird nestlings and built their nests atop them
as I enabled this massacre, I was dismayed with my lack of hindsight

it has taken a bluebird family to make me realize
that we all think we are helping at one time or another
in the absence of forethought

fastidiously the male bluebird deposited the inchworm meal in the nestbox hole
and swooped upwards to rest on a utility wire pole
his sighs blanketed the grasslands
as he soulfully paused between phrases
and the receding evening summer sun softened its golden rays