The ONLY Bluebird Found in Michigan! (ID Guide)
What types of bluebirds can you find in Michigan?
Bluebirds are one of the most popular birds in Michigan and have captivated people’s interest and attention for a long time. These small birds, distinguished by their beautiful blue plumage, are actually part of the thrush family (Turdidae).
And while everyone WANTS to attract bluebirds to their backyard, it’s surprisingly challenging to get them to visit bird feeders. But don’t worry, if you keep reading, you will learn some proven tips you can implement today!
- *RELATED: Watch the LIVE bird feeder and animal cameras in MY backyard* (You may get lucky and see a bluebird on my cams RIGHT NOW!)
Below is the ONLY type of bluebird that lives in Michigan!
Do you want to learn more about bluebirds? If so, I have written a few other articles that you may enjoy! 🙂
Please let me know which bluebird species you have spotted before in the “Comments” section! 🙂
*The range maps below were generously shared with permission from The Birds of The World, published by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. I use their site OFTEN to learn new information about birds!*
#1. Eastern Bluebird
Few birds are as pretty as an Eastern Bluebird. Thanks to their cheerful disposition and amazing beauty, these birds are always a pleasure to see, both for birders and non-birders alike!
Males are vibrant blue with a rusty chest and throat and fairly easy to identify. Females look similar, but the colors are much more subdued.
Eastern Bluebirds are common in Michigan in open areas.
Eastern Bluebird Range Map
Look for them in meadows, fields, cemeteries, golf courses, parks, backyards, and even Christmas tree farms!
The primary diet of these birds changes with the seasons. During warmer months, insects caught on the ground are their primary source of nutrition, such as beetles, crickets, and spiders. When bugs go away in winter, their diet switches to fruit and berries found on trees.
Can you attract Eastern Bluebirds to bird feeders?
The short answer is YES. You can attract these bluebirds to your backyard feeding station, as long as you make special provisions for them.
Here are two quick tips you can implement today!
#1. Provide foods that bluebirds will actually eat.
- Make sure you are providing insects (mealworms work great) and berries. Don’t expect an Eastern Bluebird to come to your backyard if you are only offering traditional birdseed.
#2. Choose bird feeders that bluebirds will actually use.
- You need to buy bird feeders that specialize in feeding the foods mentioned above (mealworms and berries)!
You can also listen for Eastern Bluebirds!
Press PLAY above to hear an Eastern Bluebird!
These birds have a beautiful call. Listen for a liquid sounding warbling song that consists of 1—3 notes, which is typically given several times in a row.
It was once rare to see Eastern Bluebirds in Michigan!
Around 100 years ago, Eastern Bluebird populations started declining because of an extreme decrease in available nesting sites.
Here’s what happened:
Bluebirds are considered cavity nesters, which means they will only nest inside a fully enclosed cavity, except for the entrance hole. To complicate the issue, these birds are unable to make their own nest cavity. So in the wild, they only use holes in trees that were excavated by woodpeckers from seasons past.
And over time, the availability of nesting sites decreased for the following reasons:
Humans typically cut down dead, rotting trees.
- For aesthetic reasons, most people have dead trees cut down in their yard. But rotting trees are PERFECT for woodpeckers to excavate holes to build their nest cavities, which bluebirds use in subsequent years.
Old fence posts have been replaced with newer, hardier posts.
- Wooden fence posts used to be excellent nesting sites for bluebirds after woodpeckers would hollow out cavities. But most of these wooden posts have now been replaced by metal posts, wire, or treated wood, which is harder for woodpeckers to excavate holes inside because it does not decay easily.
House Sparrows and European Starlings were introduced from Europe!
- Both of these invasive birds use the same nesting cavities that bluebirds require. Unfortunately, both House Sparrows and European Starlings typically outcompete Eastern Bluebirds, driving them away, or even killing them.
But thanks to many dedicated people building nest boxes, bluebirds have recovered in Michigan!
The North American Bluebird Society has tirelessly promoted bluebird conservation to help bring public awareness to the nesting cavity issue, along with an incredible increase in knowledge about year-round requirements and behavior of all three bluebird species.
- RELATED: Bluebird Houses: The Definitive Guide (7 FREE Plans!)
Where have you seen Eastern Bluebirds in Michigan before?
Leave a comment below!