The Long-Suffering Husband put up this bluebird house years ago. I never expected to see it used, since bluebirds are not that common around here, but it seems that the elusive Sialia sialis may have taken up residence in our yard!
I hope the pair find the accommodations to their liking. They are insect-eaters, so they won’t find our seed feeders of much use.
I always think it is a massive compliment when birds take up residency in my garden/on our facade. So, congrats!
Thank you! I do feel honored 🙂
Hi, FYI the scientific name of the eastern bluebird is /Sialia sialis/ not /sialia sialis/. [I’m not sure how to make this italics, so I have used the Twitter convention of the slash to indicate italics.]. Genera and species (also called the species binomial) are always italics and the genus is always capitalized. This may seem pedantic, but thought you ought to know. I find many fiction books contain this error, and it troubles me that editors are ignorant of this very simple rule; makes me wonder what else is not picked up by the editing process, and jars me out of the believably of the book in general.
As for diet, yes, bluebirds are classified as insectivores, but that does not mean they eat only insects (confusing, I know). Even birds that people think of as dietary specialists, like hummingbirds, switch their diet at key periods. Hummers feed their babies exclusively on arthropods (insects and spiders), so nothing is set in stone! As for bluebird’s diet, a key paper by Pinkowski (1977) says, “Beal (1915) found that up to 57.6% of the diet of /S. sialis/ may consist of fruit during winter. I noted that bluebirds rely heavily on fruit sources in late summer and immediately after their arrival in early spring. Staghorn sumac /Rus typhina/ and multiflora rose /Rosa multifora/ are the common fruits eaten in spring. Honeysuckle /Lonicera/ sp., cherry /Prusus/ sp., and mulberrry /Morus/ sp. are eaten in summer.” This study was done in Michigan, so may be similar to your area.
Thank you Terngirl! I will fix the reference. As to their diet, I’m afraid our seed feeders won’t help them out much, and we don’t have fruit trees or bushes. But maybe they would eat mealworms.
PS: Note that the WP reader view does not permit italicization. But the name was italicized in the post itself. The only thing missing was the capital letter.
Sylvie G said:
Beautiful bird and eggs 🙂
Thanks Sylvie. I am very fond of our backyard birds.
Sylvie G said:
An endless source of joy I imagine :
Yes indeed. Right now the goldfinches are turning lemon yellow and promising that the snow on the ground will soon melt away…
Well, if the seeds get wet, they would start to ferment/rot and you might get insects that way! #ewwwww. Funny that I can’t italicise anything, oh well.
Anyway, as for feeding mealworms, yes and no. If you decide to feed mealworms, you should “gut-load” them with nutrients because they are actually not all that nutritious. Better yet, sprinkle them with calcium powder (which you can get at pet stores in the reptile section), because there is some literature to suggest that mealworms actually leach calcium from bones. Also, this paper is interesting: Finke 2015. Complete nutrient content of four species of commercially available feeder insects fed enhanced diets during growth. Zoo Biology, 34: 554-564. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/zoo.21246/abstract?campaign=woletoc
Thanks for the tips! We’ve never done much with mealworms, but I have considered it in order to attract a wider variety of birds. We get the backyard basics, plus quite a few species of woodpeckers.
Lisa @ cheergerm said:
How very pretty are those blue eggs!
Thanks, I thought so too.
oh, that is lovely to have a little bird so close to the house 🙂 The eggs are very pretty 🙂
We used to have swallows on the balcony, with their own made nest and all 🙂
Yes, the swallows like to be on buildings. Their nests are fascinating!