About This Animal
SIZE: 7 inches
RANGE: Eastern North America
HABITAT: Field edges, meadows and open woods
DIET: Insects and fruit
ON EXHIBIT: Delta Swamp and Cove Forest in River Journey
The male eastern bluebird, with its brilliant blue top side, rusty brown flanks, and creamy white underside is one of the most striking of the southeastern songbirds. A frequent nester in constructed, above-ground bluebird boxes, the Eastern bluebird is a favorite of backyard birdwatchers. In many parts of the country the return of the bluebirds from winter habitats signals the end of winter.
They have suffered heavily from the pesticide DDT and from lack of nesting sites (cavities in fences posts, trees). Although the reasons are still somewhat unclear, serious competition for nesting holes with introduced species such as the European starling may be a critical factor. Thanks to the use of "backyard" nesting boxes the Eastern Bluebird has made a strong recovery and their populations are increasing in the wild. The Tennessee Aquarium has hatched over 100 young of this species.