Photos and Content by: Erin Prawoko
As Spring begins to reveal itself here in the Northeast, you are probably excited for the migrating birds’ return. But one of my favorites to watch is a year-round resident here on the Southern Maine and New Hampshire seacoast; one that surprises and delights with its flash of royal blue in the woods or at the feeder, the Eastern Bluebird.
That’s right, the beautiful “bluey” is a winter resident in our neck of the woods, and can even be found wintering in parts of Vermont on up to Quebec. I have been watching them just across the river at Odiorne State Park, feed on the plentiful burgundy-colored sumac berries. The royal blue atop the reddish spikes of berries is a treat for the eye. You can also observe them fluttering to the ground to feed on insects beneath the leaves.
Here at Bell Farm, we offer them one of their favorite meals, mealy worm. If you’re new to birding, mealy worm is the larvae of the mealworm beetle. If that makes you a bit squeamish, ours are dried/roasted and not live. Bluebirds love them and they are full of protein which is helpful during the cold months when their natural protein sources diminish. The feeder we use that works great is the Erva Baffled Bluebird Feeder. It comes with a glass dish in the middle and it does its job of keeping out the larger birds such as Starlings that will try and steal a tasty mealworm.
When you first look at the feeder, you will be surprised at the size of the holes- but the bluebirds do fit!! It will take them a few days to learn how to get in, though!
In summer, when they can feed more on insects, a smaller amount of mealworm can be left for them. You don’t want to over feed so they get the proper nutrition from the natural sources.
Whether you’re taking a walk in the woods, or you have your own bird sanctuary in your backyard, I hope you are enjoying the sight of bluey as much as I have this winter. And it’s never too late or too early to put up a bluebird house! They usually begin nesting in March, but they will have more than one brood per season and it's possible that they will switch to a new house for their later broods.
Welcome Spring, and happy birding!