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Eastern Bluebird


IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

Eastern Bluebird Photo

Most of the country drives during an eastern North American summer will turn up a few Eastern Bluebirds sitting on telephone wires or perched atop a nest box, calling out in a short, wavering voice or abruptly dropping to the ground after an insect. Marvelous birds to capture in your binoculars, male Eastern Bluebirds are a brilliant royal blue on the back and head, and warm red-brown on the breast. Blue tinges in the wings and tail give the grayer females an elegant look.


  • Song
  • Shortened song
  • Courtesy of Macaulay Library
    © Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Eastern Bluebirds sing a fairly low-pitched, warbling song made up of several phrases, each consisting of 1-3 short notes. Harsher chattering notes may be interspersed with the whistles. The whole song lasts about 2 seconds. Typically, unpaired males sing this song from a high perch or sometimes in flight, as they try to attract a mate. Females sometimes sing this song when they see predators on their territory. Paired males sometimes sing a much softer version of this song while females are laying eggs.


  • Call, song
  • Call
  • Courtesy of Macaulay Library
    © Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

The Eastern Bluebird’s most common call is a soft, low-pitched tu-a-wee with a querulous tone. The call lasts a little less than a second, with males’ calls typically slightly longer than females’. Bluebirds give this song in all seasons as a way of keeping in touch with each other or to signal nestlings that adults are bringing food. When bluebirds get too close to each other, they let each other know with a single, harsh screech. Females make a very soft, low chip when a courting male approaches. Birds nervous at the approach of a ground predator make a loud, continual chit-chit-chit.

Other Sounds

Bluebirds attacking predators or other intruders on their territory may dive-bomb them and clack their bills shut.

Search the Macaulay Library online archive for more sounds and videos

Backyard Tips

This species may visit backyards if food is offered. It doesn't often come to feeders, unless you have feeders that provide mealworms. Find out more about what this bird likes to eat and what feeder is best by using the Project FeederWatch Common Feeder Birds bird list.

Eastern Bluebirds may be tough to attract to feeders, unless you offer mealworms, but they are a great prospect for nest boxes if you have the space to put one up in your yard, and if your yard isn’t too hemmed in by trees or houses. 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. Find out more about nest boxes on All About Birdhouses, where you'll find plans for building a nest box of the appropriate size for Eastern BLuebird.

Find This Bird

You can find Eastern Bluebirds in open country with patchy vegetation and large trees or nest boxes. Meadows, old fields, and golf courses are good places. Bluebirds typically sit in the open on power lines or along fences, with an alert, vertical posture. When they drop to the ground after an insect, they make a show of it, with fluttering wings and a fairly slow approach, followed by a quick return to the perch.

Get Involved

Set up a nest box for bluebirds and report nesting activity to NestWatch

View and sort images of nesting bluebirds online with CamClickr to help scientists archive data from our NestCams

Report your Eastern Bluebird sightings to eBird

You Might Also Like

Downloadable plans for a bluebird nest box

Incubation Matters: A new angle on why birds in warmer climes lay fewer eggs, BirdScope, Summer 2003.

Bluebirds Put Their Eggs into More than One Basket: Renesting attempts reveal latitudinal trends in multiple broods, BirdScope, Spring 2004.

eBird Occurrence Maps, Eastern Bluebird

First-Ever Bluebird Twins Found Via Project NestWatch—Plus More Opportunities to Discover, All About Birds, March 25, 2014.

All About Birds blog, Here’s What to Feed Your Summer Bird Feeder Visitors, July 11, 2014.

Helping Behavior in Eastern Bluebird, Nestwatch, 2016.



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bird image Blue-winged Warbler by Brian Sullivan

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