Bluebird Hope

by Carl Strang

I was taking a walk at the Morton Arboretum a couple days ago when a male bluebird landed in a small tree nearby.

He allowed a close approach.

Soon his mate appeared.

Females look similar, but their colors are not as bright.

They were going in and out of a natural tree cavity.

The cavity was big enough that the bird completely disappeared when entering.

This was exciting, for me. I have been concerned that bluebirds may be going the way of purple martins, recognizing only bird houses provided by people as suitable nest sites. This pair may or may not use that cavity in the end, but the fact that they are considering it is a positive sign. They, at least, have not irreversibly imprinted on nest boxes as candidate nest sites.



  1. Linda Padera said,

    May 17, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    Carl, So you’d wonder if the Tree Swallow will be the one imprinting on the nest box!


    • natureinquiries said,

      May 18, 2011 at 5:50 am

      Good point!

  2. May 22, 2011 at 7:39 am

    Why do Tree Swallows use nest boxes?Cavity-nesting birds like Tree Swallows that cant make their own cavities usually face a shortage of nest sites. They often have interior dimensions that are far too small for swallow broods of up to seven young. You may meet people who say the small bluebird boxes are just fine for Tree Swallows that swallows use them all the time.

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