How to Attract Bluebirds
Written by: Dottie Baltz
Bluebirds can be found across most of the United States with the Eastern Bluebird found on the east coast and the Mountain and Western Bluebird taking up the remainder of the country. It's actually pretty easy to attract bluebirds if you have the right conditions. Here's what you can do to increase your odds of attracting a pair of bluebirds to your yard.
Male Bluebirds begin to scout for their homes in late winter and early spring, so it's best to make sure you have birdhouses specifically designed for bluebirds up no later than mid-winter.
Birdhouse Style & Placement
Bluebirds prefer wooden construction when it comes to a birdhouse. I prefer cedar since it lasts a long time without being treated with sealers that could be toxic to birds. For Eastern Bluebirds, choose a house that has a floor of about 4" x 4" and an entrance hole of 1-1/2". For Western and Mountain Bluebirds choose a floor that is about 5" x 5" with an entrance hole of 1-9/16". Avoid perches as they are just easy access for predators.
Place the birdhouse on a post that is about 5' to 6' off the ground. Place the post in an open area of lawn or pasture that does not have any trees or shrubs in front of it for about 100'. You do want a few shrubs and trees behind the house and to the sides of the birdhouse if possible as the birds will want to perch and watch over their house from time to time.
Bluebirds like choices, so if you can place more than one house in your yard that will also increase your chances of attracting a bluebird family. Place the houses 10' to 15' apart. We usually have a few cedar bluebird houses in our Etsy shop, so stop by and take a look at them.
Bluebirds will rely on insects for the most part during the spring and summer months and they will eat berries during the winter months. You can increase your chances of having bluebirds stay in your yard if you provide mealworms for them in a dish a few feet away from the bluebird house you put up. Mealworms can be purchased fresh or freeze dried from pet shops and from online sources.
Though bluebirds prefer open spaces in front of their birdhouse, they do appreciate certain trees and shrubs for cover, perching and for food sources. Try planting some of the following in your yard:
- Red Cedar
- Virginia Creeper
- Wild Grape
- Crab apple
- Bradford Pear
- Staghorn Sumac
Choose varieties from the above list that will grow best in your area. Check with your local nursery to see what is best for your soil type and weather conditions.
Want to know what an Eastern Bluebird sounds like? Check out this audio link.
If you can provide pine needles and soft grasses for nesting materials, the bluebirds will thank you for it.
All birds appreciate a nearby water source for them to bathe and drink from. If a natural source is not available, place one or two birdbaths around the yard that are no more than 3" deep with a rough surface for them to stand on. Concrete works great as do mosaic birdbaths as the grout lines provide the rough surface they are looking for. We also sell birdbaths in our Etsy shop if you are looking for something a little out of the ordinary.
If you do not attract bluebirds to your yard after a year or two, try moving your birdhouse, choose a new style of birdhouse, or provide a second birdhouse so that they have a choice. Yards that are active with kids or pets may not be attractive to birds, so try moving the birdhouses farther away from your house and play areas.
If all else fails you may attract swallows instead who like many of the same conditions that bluebirds do. They are super fun to watch with their flying antics and they eat a ton of mosquitoes; another great bird to have around your yard.