Bluebirds — Bringing the Rainbow Into Your Backyard
Bluebirds generally stand out with blue or blue and red plumage. Varieties include the eastern bluebird, western bluebird and mountain bluebird.
Eastern bluebirds have large, rounded heads with large eyes and plump bodies. Their posture appears alert with short and straight bills, a long wingspan and fairly short legs and tail. You will find them along meadows or in wide open areas surrounded by trees. Male eastern bluebirds are blessed with a beautiful deep blue color on the upper body with red coloring on the breast and throat. Males may look grayish brown from a distance. The blue in female eastern bluebirds concentrates on the wings and tail. They have an orange or brown breast.
Western bluebirds include the male with deep blue rusty and white colors that are often brighter than the female, which has more gray-brown and blue tinges. Rust orange colors extend from the vest to the breast and upper back on the male. The female has gray and orange colors on the breast and blue on the wings and tail. Males have a blue throat and females have gray. White colors usually appear on the lower belly. The birds perch upright with stocky features, but have thin straight bills and short tails.
The male mountain bluebird has brilliant sky blue colors on the body, head, wings and tail. Brighter colors may appear above with paler shades below. A brownish blue color may be noticed during winter. Female mountain bluebirds have a brownish-blue color with sky blue colors on the wings, rump and tail. Bluish gray may appear on the head and back. Reddish colors can cover the chest. Brownish colors also occur in females.
Western bluebirds may differ from eastern birds with a blue throat and rusty patch on the shoulder. The sky blue color of the mountain bluebird distinguishes it from other bluebirds. Mountain birds may be harder to find because they prefer the high elevation of the mountains. However, they will swoop down to lower elevations during wintertime when food becomes scarce.
Regardless of the location or type, bluebirds contain an attractive plumage that can at times be breathtakingly blue. The plumpness of their bodies often presents an appearance of being hunched when sitting down with their heads drawn into their shoulders. This is the way they sit in a lookout position when perched on a post or fence. You can often identify them in this stance even without seeing their colors. But when flying above or sitting close by, you cannot miss that unmistakably beautiful blue color aptly defining their name.
Filed under: Bluebird Feeders