Attracting bluebirds is a bit challenging, especially when you’re willing to invite them to your yard. You just need to apply some useful tips and tricks. Consequently, these little creatures start coming to your yard and do the natural pest control by eating insects.
Now, you’re probably wondering how to attract bluebirds to your yard. It’s really simple by following the tips mentioned below.
- Serve mealworms.
- Hang high-quality bluebird feeders.
- Add fruits and other prepared foods to the feeders.
- Avoid applying pesticides or insecticides to your yard.
- Place a birdbath in your yard.
- Install a small dripper or fountain.
- Set a heated birdbath in freezing temperatures.
- Install specifically designed nest boxes.
- Choose the right location for nest boxes.
- Keep your nest boxes clean.
There are 10 more exclusive tips out there. In this article, we’ll elaborately discuss 20 helpful tips that help you attract different bluebird species to your yard. You’re also going to know why attracting bluebirds is important, and some frequently asked questions with answers.
So, let’s get started!
How Can You Attract Bluebirds to Your Yard?
If you want to attract bluebirds to your yard, you have to entice these birds with food, water, shelter, nesting sites, and protection from predators. As you know, we’re going to talk about 20 exclusive tips that can be effective in attracting bluebirds in both warmer and colder months.
1. Serve Mealworms
A researcher found that bluebirds’ diet included around 68% of insects (Beal 1915). Mealworms are insects. You may consider them as worms, but they are basically the darkling beetles’ larvae. The good news is bluebirds are irresistible to eat mealworms.
If you want to attract bluebirds to your backyard, you can serve live mealworms in a shallow dish or tray consistently in the area you have fixed for bluebirds. You can also provide bluebirds with a birdfeeder full of live mealworms.
Now the question is, where do you find live mealworms? You can raise mealworms by yourself, purchase from local pet stores, or order online. If you choose the last option, we recommend you choose the 500ct Live Giant Mealworms from Amazon.
However, live mealworms are pretty expensive. Even you have to take care of the live mealworms to keep them alive for bluebirds. If you don’t want to bear the cost of live mealworms, offer bluebirds with dried ones.
In this case, we can suggest you purchase the Kaytee Dried Mealworms (The link takes you to Amazon). Here’s the kicker! Sometimes, bluebirds don’t want to eat dried mealworms, as they love eating live ones.
To feed bluebirds dried mealworms, you have to follow these strategies.
- Start feeding bluebirds with live mealworms.
- Once they consistently eat them, add some dried ones with the live ones.
- Hopefully, bluebirds will accidentally eat dried mealworms and recognize them as excellent treats.
- This way, bluebirds will be accustomed to eating dried ones only.
2. Hang High-Quality Bluebird Feeders
You have already known about attracting bluebirds with mealworms. To feed bluebirds these delicious treats, you need to hang good quality bluebird feeders in your backyard. The feeders should have a large roof, small entrances, and enough capacity for live mealworms.
That being said, we’re now going to talk about 3 high-quality bluebird feeders below. Each features a smooth edge or wall that keeps the live mealworms away from crawling out, making sure that there are no wooden edges in these feeders. (All links take you to Amazon)
- More Birds Hanging Bird Feeder: This bluebird feeder allows you to offer a small number of live or dried mealworms to bluebirds in your yard. Apart from mealworms, you can serve various fruits and prepared foods, such as jelly, suet nuggets, jelly, chopped apples, and more to attract bluebirds to your yard.
- Droll Yankees Platform Feeder: If you choose this domed, plastic feeder, you can offer bluebirds with almost any food in its tray. Live mealworms cannot crawl out due to its smooth edges. The best part is the domed top is adjustable. To keep larger birds out, you can lower the domed top and only allow thrushes.
- Woodlink Dome Bluebird Feeder: Like the previous feeders, this bluebird feeder is suitable for filling with live or dried mealworms. You can also attract bluebirds by offering fruits and prepared foods, such as suet nuggets, sliced raisins, and chopped peanut hearts.
3. Add Fruits and Other Prepared Foods to the Feeders
As we have already stated, you can attract bluebirds by providing them with fruits and other prepared foods in the bluebird feeders. You can put some berries, like holly, sumac, and elderberry, chopped into small pieces so that the bluebirds can eat them comfortably.
To keep fruits fresh for a long time, consider offering dried fruits, such as cherries, blueberries, and raisins in the feeders. As prepared foods, add suet shreds, suet nuggets, sunflower hearts or chips, and eggshell bits to the feeders.
4. Avoid Applying Pesticides or Insecticides to Your Yard
In spring, summer, and early fall, a bluebird’s diet mainly depends on various insects. If you want to attract them to your yard, you should keep your yard chemical-free. Applying pesticides or insecticides can eliminate a healthy food source of bluebirds.
If you don’t put pesticides or insecticides in your yard, bluebirds can get an excellent food source that can include moths, termites, mosquitoes, crickets, and spiders. These birds can play a vital role in organically providing pest control.
5. Place a Birdbath in Your Yard
You can attract bluebirds to your backyard by offering them a stunning birdbath. Like other birds, bluebirds need to drink water and bathe to keep themselves clean. The splashing sounds of the water will entice them to flock around your yard.
If you want to choose a birdbath for your bluebirds, make sure the birdbath should be three inches or less deep. It should also be large enough to accommodate five or more than five bluebirds at the same time. The edges should be rough to prevent them from slipping.
Do you want to order an attractive birdbath online? We recommend taking a look at the Arcadia Garden Stone Fiberclay Birdbath (The link takes you to Amazon). It comes with durable construction, wide dimensions, easy assembly, and all-weather resistance.
However, many birders donâ€™t use birdbaths to attract bluebirds. This is because birdbaths often require maintenance, and the birders donâ€™t want to face the hassle. But, the reality is that maintaining a birdbath will be easy once you get in the habit of cleaning it.
You have to change the water every other day to keep your birdbath dirt-free. Due to many bluebirds’ arrival to your birdbath, the freshwater can quickly turn into dirt and waste. You just have to clean the birdbath thoroughly once a week with a scrub brush and a hose.
6. Install a Small Dripper or Fountain
Moving water can attract bluebirds more than still water. So, placing a simple birdbath may not always enough. To attract the bluebirds with the splashing noises of moving water, you can install a small dripper or fountain on the birdbath.
You can find a quality dripper or fountain in local pet shops, or you have to order one online. If you are going to choose a fountain online, we recommend you opt for the Sunlitec Solar Fountain with Panel Water Pump (the link takes you to Amazon).
However, if you are willing to purchase a high-quality dripper, you can consider the Birds Choice AAD410R Avian Dripper from Amazon. You can set it beside your birdbath to create the waterâ€™s splashing sound for the bluebirds.
7. Set a Heated Birdbath in Freezing Temperatures
If you live in Canada or northern regions of the United States, placing a simple birdbath wonâ€™t be enough. You should set a heated birdbath, as water can get frozen in these areas. The heated birdbath will keep the water liquid during the coldest weather.
If you don’t have a heated birdbath, don’t worry. We recommend choosing the Smart Solar Louisa Birdbath (from Amazon) that comes with a solar system to keep the water away from freezing. You can also check the olive green one, as it comes at a reasonable price.
8. Install Specifically Designed Nest boxes
If you want to attract bluebirds to your yard, you should install specifically designed nest boxes for them. However, bluebirds are cavity nesters. They usually nest inside woodpecker holes, oak trees, or dead pine, as they cannot excavate their own holes.
Now, the thing is that most people don’t have dead trees in their yard. Installing nest boxes can be a great alternative for them. Whether you build your nest boxes or purchase several ones from a local store or online, make sure that they should include the following characteristics.
- Nestboxes should be made of rot-resistant wood, like cedar.
- They should be easy to open and clean after the nesting season.
- The outside of the nest boxes should be painted, but the inside should be designed with untreated wood.
- The roof of the nest boxes should be waterproof, but the bottom should have holes to drain water and dirt.
Considering all the factors, we recommend using the Audubon Coppertop Cedar Wood Bluebird House. This USA-handcrafted nestbox is made of ornithologically-correct natural cedar and designed with a Coppertop roof. Best of all, it’s simple to open for easy cleaning.
9. Choose the Right Location for Nest boxes
To invite bluebirds, you should set your nestbox at an appropriate place. Bluebirds prefer nest boxes placed 4 to 7 feet above the ground. Make sure to place the nestboxes enough apart from each other, as bluebirds don’t nest around 100 yards of other bluebirds.
When you’re going to place your nestbox in your yard, try to keep its entrance eastward. If you have done so, bluebirds will get morning sun. Besides, they can protect themselves from high heat and devastating winds.
10. Keep Your Nest boxes Clean
Do you want to encourage bluebirds to come to your nest boxes every year? Make sure to clean your nestboxes before every nesting season. Once nesting season is over and fledglings have left the nest, clean the nestboxes by removing the nesting material.
When youâ€™re cleaning the nestboxes, check them carefully whether they need repairs or not. If your nestboxes are not as safe as bluebirds’ nesting requirements, they won’t come to your nest boxes in the next year.
11. Hang Squirrel-Proof Birdhouses
If you want to attract bluebirds to your backyard, you can hang squirrel-proof, comfortable, and safe birdhouses for them. For your information, bluebirds love blue. If you install a blue-colored birdhouse, it will be quite enticing.
We recommend installing the Woodlink Wooden Bluebird House. This ornithologically designed birdhouse is manufactured with kiln-dried, reinforced red cedar. It comes with a Â½ inch hole in the middle, a Â½ inch air ventilation gap at the top, and a drain hole at the bottom.
12. Install Relatively Large Roosting Boxes in Winter
During the coldest winter months, not all bluebird species, such as eastern, western, and mountain bluebirds, migrate to warmer regions. The number of non-migratory bluebirds is increasing year after year due to climate change.
If you place comparatively large roosting boxes in your backyard, bluebirds will be attracted to come for cuddling together to share their body warmth. This will help them get shelter, protect them from heavy snow and storms, and save them in harsh freezing temperatures.
13. Place Nestboxes in the Spring
Depending on the regional diversity, the ideal bluebird nesting season ranges from late winter to early summer, mostly between February and April. If you’re willing to attract bluebirds to your yard, make sure to place nesting boxes in the early spring.
14. Plant Native Trees and Berry-Growing Shrubs
Bluebirds, in winter, change their diet from insects to berries and other fruits due to excessive snowfalls. If you’re willing to invite bluebirds to your yard naturally, you need to plant native trees and berry-growing shrubs. They will also help you create a bluebird-friendly landscape.
The trees and shrubs that can work great to attract bluebirds are:
- Eastern Red Cedar
- Virginia Creeper
- Wild Grape
- Sumac Seeds
- Hackberry Seeds
- American Elderberry
- American Holly
These trees and shrubs can play a vital role in inviting insects and bugs, as bluebirds mostly eat them. Caterpillars, grasshoppers, beetles, spiders, and crickets will be attracted to these native plants. Therefore, bluebirds will keep coming to your yard.
If you plant Chinese shrubs in your yard, they may look beautiful. But, they cannot attract native insects and arthropods. Therefore, bluebirds won’t be attracted to your yard. In this case, we have a recommendation: speak with a nursery or local garden store.
15. Offer Nesting Materials
Are you still looking for ways of attracting bluebirds’ attention? You can offer nesting materials, such as cotton scraps and pine needles, to bluebirds so that they can make their own nests. Remember, bluebirds may also collect soft grasses and fragrant pine needles from your yard.
16. Avoid Cutting Dead Trees
It’s obvious that dead trees are an eyesore. But, these can be excellent nesting and roosting areas for bluebirds, especially the holes and cavities that woodpeckers (about woodpeckers) create. Just leave the dead trees alone, as bluebirds are likely to be attracted to come for nesting.
Many people also trim off dead limbs from living trees because they might look terrible. However, these old branches can be used as perches where bluebirds can rest, defend their territory, and look for food. So, don’t cut dead trees and dead limbs from living trees.
17. Keep Cats Away
In the United States and Canada, cats hunt over 3 billion songbirds each year, mostly newly fledged nestlings. If you want to attract bluebirds and have cats in your house, keep your cats indoors and discourage feral cats from bluebirdsâ€™ habitat to keep the bluebirds safe.
18. Protect Nestboxes from Predators
To ensure bluebirds’ attention to your yard, protecting nestboxes from dangerous predators is so important. Do you want to attract bluebird families to your yard every year? Make sure to provide some barriers to the predators, such as cats, squirrels, raccoons, snakes, etc.
So, what are the barriers? Purchase a Noel guard for your nestbox (a Noel guard is a mesh barrier used for surrounding the entrance hole). You can also make a DIY Noel guard. It will deter predators from attacking your bluebirds and let the bluebirds lay eggs.
Besides, you can install your nestbox on a wobbling baffle. You might be wondering what a wobbling baffle is. Itâ€™s a device that can prevent predators from climbing up your nestbox and causing harm to your bluebirds.
19. Deter Competitors from Nesting in Bluebird Boxes
House sparrows and European starlings are the main competitors for bluebirds. Even house sparrows nest in the same cavity where bluebirds usually nest. If you want to attract bluebirds, make sure to keep nestboxes unattractive to their competitors.
For your information, house sparrows are aggressive. They always outperform bluebirds for availing nesting sites. Even they kill bluebirds to reduce their competition. If you live in an urban or suburban area infested with lots of house sparrows, discourage them from nesting.
On the other hand, European starlings can be a problem for bluebirds. However, these birds are larger than the dimensions of most bluebird nestboxes. Even those nestboxes’ entrance hole is too small to enter (only 1-Â½ inches in diameter).
So, how to deter competitors from nesting in bluebirds’ nest boxes? Here are the solutions!
- Your nest boxes shouldn‘t have attached perches.
- Their entrance holes should be smaller for house sparrows and European starlings (no larger than 1-Â½ inches).
- The interior space should be no larger than 4 x 4 inches.
20. Keep Your Fields Open
All bluebird species prefer to live in open areas with low grass and a few shrubs. For example, Eastern bluebirds can be found in orchards, meadows, large lawns, golf courses, and roadsides. On the other hand, Western bluebirds can be found in woodlands, farmlands, and backyards.
As the name suggests, Mountain bluebirds can be seen on higher elevations. You can also find them in native habitats, such as sagebrush steppe, prairie, and alpine tundra. These bluebirds also love to live in an open country that includes a few trees for cavity-nesting.
If you’re interested in attracting the bluebirds to your yard, keep your lawn grass short. If possible, install hunting perches or poles in your yard so that the bluebirds can perch on them and hunt insects and bugs easily and quickly.
Why Is Attracting Bluebirds Important?
In the middle of the last century, bluebird populations were severely declined, especially in North America. Later, many enthusiast birders and organizations like the North American Bluebird Society helped bluebirds grow their populations by providing food and shelter.
If the enthusiast birders and organizations like the North American Bluebird Society didn’t help bluebirds survive, who knows what these songbirds’ status would be at present. They tirelessly worked to help bluebirds throughout the continent.
Although bluebirds are commonly found everywhere, house sparrows and European starlings can outcompete the bluebirds by killing them and occupying their nesting sites. So, you should feed bluebirds mealworms, offer berries, and provide nestboxes to nest.
Which Species of Bluebirds Can You Attract?
Attracting a specific bluebird species depends on whether you live in the region of that bluebird species or not. You may know there are 3 types of bluebirds in North America. Here we’re going to share with you the places where all bluebird species are usually found.
- Eastern Bluebirds: These bluebird species are found in Southeastern Canada, the East of the Rockies, and near the Gulf of Mexico. During the winter months, they migrate to the south. That’s why theyâ€™re found in Mexico.
- Western Bluebirds: When it comes to western bluebirds, you can find these bluebirds in western Alberta, the Baja, British Columbia, eastern New Mexico, and around the Rocky Mountains. They can also be found in Mexico during winter.
- Mountain Bluebirds: As the name suggests, mountain bluebirds can be found in mountain areas, including southern Alaska, Manitoba, Nebraska, and California. When winter comes, these bluebirds love to overwinter all over the western USA.
If you live in the areas where bluebirds are usually found, you can attract a specific bluebird species to your yard. However, bluebirds are not found all over North America. If you’re a resident where bluebirds don’t live, you might be unable to attract a single bluebird.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Is my yard a suitable habitat for bluebirds?
Bluebirds usually love to live in semi-open or thoroughly open areas. That’s why a wide, chemical-free yard is ideal for them. However, if you provide the right treats, such as mealworms, berries, and other fruits, your small yard will be suitable habitat for them to nest.
2. What kind of nestbox should I buy or build?
When you’re going to buy a nestbox for your bluebirds, you will find a number of good designs out there. But, make sure to examine the box whether you can open it for routine checks. On the other hand, if you’re willing to build a nestbox by yourself, follow the dimensions of the North American Bluebird Society. When building the nestbox, use durable pieces of wood, like cedar.
3. I have recently noticed a new nest in my bluebird nestbox, but the parents are missing. How can I be sure if bluebirds make it?
To identify which birds nest in your nestbox, you have to know the nesting process of bluebirds and some other birds that are likely to nest in your nestbox. Now, we’re going to discuss the nesting process of a few birds along with different bluebird species below.
- Bluebirds: These birds usually make nests with pine needles and fine grasses. The color of their eggs is pale blue. You can rarely find pure white eggs.
- Chickadees: The nests of Chickadees are usually lined with plant fiber, rabbit fur, feathers, hair, and moss. The color of their eggs is evenly spotted white.
- House Sparrows: Typically, these birds make unkempt domed nests. The nests are often filled with scraps of trash. The color of their eggs is brown, splotched gray, and greenish-white (most common).
- House Wrens: Like small birds, house wrens make their nests entirely with small twigs. The color of their eggs is pure white. They can also be speckled with reddish dots.
- Nuthatches: These birds usually make their nests with feathers, moss, grasses, twigs, and bark shreds. The eggs are heavily speckled, and their color is pale brown, white, or purple.
- Titmice: The nests of titmice are usually made with dried leaves, roots, and moss. Theyâ€™re lined with fur, hair, and string or cloth scraps. The creamy white eggs are speckled with dots.
- Tree Swallows: Typically, these birds make their nests with dried grasses. Their nests remain lined with feathers. The eggs of tree swallows are pure white.
4. What do I do if other birds are using my bluebird nest boxes?
Bluebirds usually nest in tree cavities, but these birds don’t excavate holes. In fact, they nest in abandoned holes of woodpeckers or use human-made nest boxes. Now the question is what you can do when other birds start using your bluebird nestboxes.
You may notice that house sparrows, aggressive competitors for bluebirds, nest in your bluebird nestbox. In this case, you can destroy their nests because they’re not native birds and therefore not protected by any state or federal laws.
If you see European starlings or other birds nesting in your bluebird nestbox, you can remove them without approval. Theyâ€™re under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. To get rid of them, you have to call avian professionals and let them do their jobs.
5. What doesn‘t attract bluebirds?
Bluebirds don’t eat anything from a feeder that includes sunflower, safflower, Nyjer (thistle), and peanuts because these foods are not listed in bluebirdsâ€™ diet. We’re sure that you’ve faced the same problem. So, you shouldn’t offer bluebirds what cannot attract them.
Bluebirds are excellent songbirds that can increase the beauty of your yard. Watching these birds and listening to their chirping can deliver calmness to your body and mind. They can keep your yard free of pests and insects by eating them.
Are you wondering how to attract bluebirds? You just need patience. As there are three types of bluebirds out there, provide them food and shelter according to the habit of a specific bluebird species. Once they become used to your efforts, they will always come to you.