The bluebirds are a North American group of medium-sized, mostly insectivorous or omnivorous birds in the order of Passerines in the genus Sialia of the thrush family (Turdidae). Bluebirds are one of the few thrush genera in the Americas.
The genus Sialia was introduced by the English naturalist William John Swainson in 1827 with the eastern bluebird (Sialia sialis) as the type species. A molecular phylogenetic study using mitochondrial sequences published in 2005 found that Sialia, Myadestes (solitaires) and Neocossyphus (African ant-thrushes) formed a basal clade in the family Turdidae. Within Sialia the mountain bluebird was sister to the eastern bluebird.
Predators of young bluebirds in the nests can include snakes, cats, and raccoons. Bird species competing with bluebirds for nesting locations include the common starling, American crow, and house sparrow, which take over the nesting sites of bluebirds, killing young, smashing eggs, and probably killing adult bluebirds.
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. In late 2005, Cornell University's Laboratory of Ornithology reported bluebird sightings across 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 be attributed largely to a movement of volunteers establishing and maintaining bluebird trails.
In traditional Iroquois cosmology, the call of the bluebird is believed to ward off the icy power of Sawiskera, also referred to as Flint, the spirit of the winter. Its call caused Sawiskera to flee in fear and the ice to recede.
"(There'll Be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover" was composed in 1941 by Walter Kent to lyrics by Nat Burton looking forward to a time when World War II would be over. Burton was unaware that the bluebird was not indigenous to England. Vera Lynn popularised the song with her performances to the troops.
The titular bluebird of the song "Birds", from the 2013 album Government Plates by the Sacramento-based experimental hip hop group Death Grips, is thought to be referencing Charles Bukowski's poem "Bluebird", wherein bluebirds represent vulnerability that Bukowski felt as a result of child abuse from his father.
"Bluebird" is the title of Miranda Lambert's Country chart-topping late 2019 single from her album Wildcard . The song was co-written by Lambert who has said the song was a reference to the hope and optimism associated with bluebirds. The accompanying video for the song features a mountain bluebird.
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Eastern bluebirds are very common in farm fields and other open, rural areas where woods are found nearby. In the summer, Eastern bluebirds eat insects. They are favored residents of farms because they eat many insects that damage crops. In the fall and winter, some Eastern bluebirds move to southeastern states while others remain as year-round residents.
To nest, male bluebirds find an attractive tree hollow or man-made nest box. When the male has chosen a nest site, he sings near it to try to entice a female to join him in setting up housekeeping. Eastern bluebirds lay, on average, 5 eggs in early spring that hatch about 12 days later. Once the young are on their own, the Eastern bluebird parents will often raise one more brood before fall comes.
In the early 1970's, the plight of the Eastern bluebird was recognized throughout the eastern United States. Wildlife groups and bird clubs began to build and erect bluebird boxes. Both the bluebird nest boxes and the ban on the use of DDT have lead to a miraculous increase in the numbers of Eastern bluebirds. The bluebird and the bluebird nest boxes have become symbols of this success story in wildlife conservation. 041b061a72