Bird Sounds: Eastern Bluebird

Eastern Bluebird Calls

May 19, 2020
Eastern Bluebird Bird Song

You may know the sweet little bluebird from many popular songs, books, and movies, such as “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” from the Wizard of Oz. Learn more about this good friend to gardeners and listen to the sounds of the Eastern Bluebird.

Have you spotted a bluebird? Like the robins, bluebirds are harbingers of spring—and many bluebirds (about a third) even stick around for winter. 

Poets like James Russell Lowell recognized the bluebirds’ beauty, especially needed in troubled times, with these memorable lines he wrote in “Under the Willows”:

“The Bluebird, shifting his light load of song, from post to post along the cheerless fence, a Spring habit which has delighted many”

About Bluebirds

The gentle Eastern Bluebird has often been regarded as our most beautiful thrush. There are two western cousins that compete with it for the beautiful azure blue color. The Western and Mountain Bluebird split from the Eastern Bluebird 2 million years ago—evolution is never in a hurry! 

Eastern Bluebirds are small thrushes—about 6 to 8 inches long with a wingspan of 9 to 12 inches long, weighing around 1 ounce. They have round heads and often plump bellies for their size.

The male has a brilliant royal blue head and back and a warm reddish-orange throat and breast. The females are grayish with a subtler orange on the belly and elegant blue tinges on their wings. With their beautiful colors, bluebirds are a treat to sight out your window or through a telescope.

Bluebird Habitat

Bluebirds prefer open country, especially areas with abandoned apple orchards. Old apple trees have many holes and openings for flight and nesting.  

In the 19th century, House Sparrows migrated from Europe and displaced bluebirds by occupying nest holes, and then the European Starling appeared, too—an even larger and more aggressive bird that competed for the same territory.

Today, the bluebird often makes its home in man-made nest boxes!

Male and female Eastern Bluebird on nesting box. Credit: Bonnie Taylor Barry/shutterstock

Insect Eaters

You’ll often see bluebirds in open country, meadows, fields, and golf courses (especially if there’s a bird box). They’ll also perch in the open along fences or power lines, scanning the ground for prey. They feed by dropping to the ground onto insects (70% of their diet) or, in fall and winter, by perching on fruiting trees to gulp down berries (the remaining 30%).

Gardeners love bluebirds because help out in the garden! They are voracious insect eaters, and can quickly rid a garden of pests. In summers, they are also a delightful vision among the flowers with their blue and red plumage—a fairy tale come alive!

Eastern Bluebirds do not normally visit feeders because they eat insects (unless you can stock feeders with mealworms). They also enjoy the fruits of shrubs such as winterberries, Virginia creeper, sumac, hackberry, and hawthorn. Their beaks are not designed to open most birdseed mixtures. 

Bluebird Nesting

Eastern Bluebirds do not normally make their own nests; these small birds are not strong enough. So, they look for nooks and crannies in trees to protect their young. 

But natural cavities in trees have become less available due to loss in habitat, so bluebirds often rely on “bird boxes” with small holes for entry and exist. (They don’t use perches so just a simple untreated wood box will do; pine wood is a good choice.) 

It’s the male who identifies a nest cavity, bringing nesting material to the hole, and flapping his wings near the cavity to get attention. Once he attracts a female, she finishes building the nest and incubates them. Bluebirds generally have one or two broods a year, laying 3 to 8 pale blue eggs. The eggs hatch after 2 weeks, and the nestlings will open their eyes within 4 to 6 days. The first brood will usually leave the mother by summer’s end, but if the brood is born later in the season, they’ll hang out with their mother through the winter.


Next Boxes

Eastern Bluebirds are a great prospect for nest boxes if you have a more open yard space. Consider putting up a nest box to attract a breeding pair. Make sure you put it up well before breeding season. Attach a guard to keep predators from raiding eggs and young.

In a study of more than 3,000 bluebirds by Cornell University, it was discovered that a nest box should ideally face east or southeast away from prevailing winds.

Read More About Birds

Love bluebirds? Visit our naturalist’s post, “House-hunting With the Bluebird.”

Click here to listen to the sounds of other birds! Compliments of The Macaulay Library at The Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Be sure to let us know where you live or where you’ve heard the sound of bluebirds before!

Reader Comments

Leave a Comment

The awesomeness of birds.

Hi there!

What an amazing article to read! Besides bluebirds, the only other species of bird I know, whose plumage is primarily blue is the blue-jay and their identical cousins. And unfortunately, not many folks take a liking to them. But now, since I know how to identify bluebirds by sight and sound, I can search for them within my area.

Does anyone here know if they are native to any parts of Florida? All I need now is a reliable pair of binoculars to go with my phone for birding footage! Also, how or where can I ask a Question of the Day on this website? I've been using it for a couple of years now, but I still have no idea how to ask a featured question.

Bluebirds in my nest box!!!

My first time having a pair of beautiful blue birds in my nesting box!!!! In Sellers, South Carolina!!! I’m so excited!!!!

Bluebirds in NH

So thrilled to see two bluebirds in Freedom, NH yesterday!


I live in southern New Jersey and saw several bluebirds on New Year's Day visiting my feeders for the first time. They have returned several times since then. A beautiful sight to behold!


We put up a bluebird house several years ago in anticipation of coaxing them into our yard. The squirrels chewed on the opening and took over the house, making it useless to any bluebirds. The only blue birds we have ever seen are, of course, the blue jays and indigo buntings. (western NY)


We bought 44 acres approximately 7 1/2 years ago. My husband is a wood worker and we have a 2 and 1/2 acre garden fenced-in and we have bird houses on every Pole. Right near our house is the first box and for the last 3 years we've had bluebirds nesting. We watch diligently 4 the most dangerous to the bluebird the English sparrow. We will literally sit outside with our BB guns or pellet guns and shoot the English sparrows. We have two drst traps located in our garden to catch these birds. They killed a brood of babies and in the far-off box killed the mother and the babies when I discovered this I learned a lot more and now I have bluebirds nesting all over my property I love them and I feed them everyday year round and they have been here through the winter. I have a vast variety of birds that stop here on their migration or they stay here. I've had everything from pheasant turkeys ducks gear sugar gliders and the list goes on. I love sitting by my French doors watching The birds. The funny thing is if my feeder is empty in the morning and they know I'm awake they are very voicetress. They have common mixed seed, black oil sunflower, suet and niger seed and occasional other things like Millet. I love making my own suet to. You can add raisins peanuts berries anyting and they love it.


I’m visiting my daughter in Atlanta Ga .
Her backyard looks out over a dense wooded area with a stream . We’ve put a bird feeder on her balcony and have an extraordinary variety of birds visiting , including Blue Birds . I’m so delighted , as I’m from NJ and although we have them there it is not common to see them .

Winter baths

I have bluebirds enjoying a bath all winter long in my yard. On sunny days I leave my storm door open and there they are splashing around in the bird bath. What a delight to see all the bright blue feathers.I live in the northwest foothills of North Carolina.

Blue birds

Have had eastern blue birds nesting in my yard for years. We have had them visit the pond during winter. Love to hear them sing.

Happy liitle bluebird

Just yesterday I was watching the birds eating the suet and I was wondering what the heck the bluebirds were eating with snow on the ground, they don't visit the suet themselves. I can see them farther back on the property at their nestbox, not sure if they sleep in it or not, just see them sometimes popping in and out like they are making sure it's still there or something.


Good Morning!
I have had the good fortune of having Bluebirds grace my property for the past 10 years. They have their own nesting box, and often they have two brood per year so it is magical to watch them through the whole process of courtship, mating and the joy of raising their young. This Winter they have stayed, and use the nest box for shelter.

Every morning, even in this severe cold, two males come out and fly from one Volvo to another, parked in my driveway, picking fights with their reflection in the rear view mirrors!! Obviously territorial behavior, and such a pleasure to watch when drinking my morning coffee. It is a great way to start the day, and I am glad to see that they appear healthy and vibrant, even during this spell of arctic weather. They symbolize the promise of Spring!
In the New Year, I wish everyone is blessed with the Bluebird of Happiness!! Cheers!
"The bluebird carries the sky on it's back..." Henry David Thoreau

variety of birds

I have seen and heard many different types of birds in my backyard. They include bluebirds, Blue Jays, cardinals, pileated woodpecker (I made a video of it pecking holes in my wellhouse décor), ladderback woodpecker. Also, I have photos of some , too, besides those birds, we also have Goldfinch, wrens, robins, sparrows, humming birds & a few others. I live in northeast Georgia.

Blue bird sounds

Good afternoon, I heard & saw my first bluebird of the season this morning after opening my back door to see if it was still raining. No rain but saw the beautiful Bluebird fly past me. Love to see them back again. I live right outside of Charlotte, NC

We've had bluebirds nesting

We've had bluebirds nesting in our boxes here in Orange County, NY for years. I feed them live mealworms from a dish on the porch railing. One year a couple brought their babies to the dish to snack on the treat!! So much fun to watch!

Eastern Bluebirds

Love to hear and see the Eastern Bluebirds. I was blessed to have them nesting in my yard several summers. Hope to see them again. I live in North Central Indiana.

I have a bird house on a tall

I have a bird house on a tall post facing my kitchen winter. Blue birds nest in it. They are so pretty. When the female is on the nest the male is very protective. Really attacks other birds that get too close. I live in Southeastern Kentucky.

Haven't heard Eastern

Haven't heard Eastern Bluebirds but have had a pair hanging around since last year. I live in New Hampshire and was told they don't stay around unless you have bird houses for them.....I don't but have been feeding the birds for 20 years.Could that be the attraction?

I think so. My sister lives

I think so. My sister lives next door and has bird houses, but the bluebirds always come to the feeders in my yard.