Bluebird


Bluebird

Taxobox
name = Bluebirds


image_caption = Eastern Bluebird
image_width = 250px
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Aves
ordo = Passeriformes
familia = Turdidae
genus = "Sialia"
subdivision_ranks = Species
subdivision =
*"Sialia sialis"
*"Sialia mexicana"
*"Sialia currucoides"

The bluebirds are medium-sized, mostly insectivorous or omnivorous birds in the genus "Sialia" of the thrush family Turdidae.

These are one of the relatively few thrush genera to be restricted to the Americas. As the name implies, these are attractive birds with blue, or blue and red, plumage. Female birds are less brightly colored than males, although color patterns are similar and there is no noticeable difference in size between sexes.

Species:
* Eastern Bluebird, "Sialia sialis"
* Western Bluebird, "Sialia mexicana"
* Mountain Bluebird, "Sialia currucoides"

Behavior

Bluebirds are territorial, prefer open grassland with scattered trees and are cavity nesters (similar to many species of woodpecker). Bluebirds can typically produce between two and four broods during the spring and summer (March through August in the Northeastern United States). Males identify potential nest sites and try to attract prospective female mates to those nesting sites with special behaviors that include singing and flapping wings, and then placing some material in a nesting box or cavity. If the female accepts the male and the nesting site, she alone builds the nest and incubates the eggs.

Predators of young bluebirds in the nests can include snakes, cats and raccoons. Non-native bird species competing with bluebirds for nesting locations include the Common Starling and House Sparrow, both of which kill adult bluebirds sitting on their nests along with the young and eggs in order to claim the nesting site. [ [http://elibrary.unm.edu/sora/JFO/v055n03/p0378-p0380.pdf "House Sparrows Kill Eastern Bluebirds"] by Patricia Adair Gowaty in [http://elibrary.unm.edu/sora/JFO/index.php Journal of Field Ornithology] , Volume 55, Number 3, Summer, 1984, pp. 378-380.]

Bluebirds are attracted to platform bird feeders, filled with grubs of the darkling beetle, sold by many online bird product wholesalers as mealworms. Bluebirds will also eat raisins soaked in water. In addition, in winter bluebirds use backyard heated birdbaths.

By the 1970s, bluebird numbers had declined by estimates ranging to 70% due to unsuccessful competition with house sparrows and starlings, both introduced species, for nesting cavities, coupled with a decline in habitat. However, in late 2005 Cornell University's Laboratory of Ornithology reported bluebird sightings at many locations in the southern U.S. as part of its yearly Backyard Bird Count, a strong indication of the bluebird's return to the region. This upsurge can largely be attributed to a movement of volunteers establishing and maintaining bluebird trails.

In popular culture

Bluebirds are featured in several songs.
*Paul McCartney and Wings recorded a McCartney composition titled "Bluebird" on their 1973 album "Band on the Run". The narrator/singer refers to himself metaphorically as a bluebird in the song's lyrics.
*Vera Lynn proclaimed that there will be "Bluebirds Over The White Cliffs Of Dover" in her popular war-time melody. Bluebirds would never actually appear in Europe though - the song is instead using the image of the bluebird of happiness.
*Judy Garland in "Over the Rainbow" from the equally legendary "The Wizard of Oz", proclaimed her belief that "If happy little bluebirds fly above the rainbow, why oh why can't I".
*Disney's film "Song of the South" had the line "Mr. Bluebird on my shoulder" in the song titled "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah."
*Sailors used to tattoo the image of a bluebird on their chests for every 5,000 miles logged at sea. [ [http://www.thetattoocollection.com/history_of_tattoos.htm History of Tattoos] ]
*Duke Ellington's and Billy Strayhorn's 1966 composition "The Far East Suite" features the tune "Bluebird of Delhi", in which Jimmy Hamilton's clarinet figures prominently as a musical imitation of the bluebird's song Strayhorn heard outside his hotel room in Delhi.
*Dinah Washington and others sang "Blue Skies" (Blue skies Smiling on me / Nothing but blue skies Do I see / Bluebirds Singing a song / Nothing but blue skies From now on.)

Footnotes

External links

* [http://www.birds.cornell.edu/programs/AllAboutBirds/BirdGuide/Eastern_Bluebird.html Eastern Bluebird] Cornell descriptions, including range, calls and physical description
* [http://www.birds.cornell.edu/programs/AllAboutBirds/BirdGuide/Western_Bluebird.html Western Bluebird] Cornell descriptions, including range, calls and physical description
* [http://www.birds.cornell.edu/programs/AllAboutBirds/BirdGuide/Mountain_Bluebird.html Mountain Bluebird] Cornell descriptions, including range, calls and physical description
* [http://bluebirdia.homegrowngoodies.com/ Bluebird Information and Awareness] Dedicated to educating the public about the needs of the bluebird and providing the information needed to help them.
* [http://www.nabluebirdsociety.org/ North American Bluebird Society] Dedicated to promoting the preservation of bluebirds.
* [http://www.sialis.org Sialis] Information on bluebirds and their conservation and restoration.
* [http://www.faunascope.com/faunascope/eastern-bluebird/index.html Videos from inside a bluebird nest] Video clips showing development from eggs to fledglings (Faunascope)


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  • bluebird — ☆ bluebird [blo͞o′bʉrd΄] n. any of a genus (Sialia) of small North American thrushes: the male usually has a blue or bluish back and an orange or reddish breast …   English World dictionary

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