Bluebirds in Winter

by Chris Peters
(Atlanta, Georgia)


I found out quickly that if you put up more than one bluebird house you will get a show you did not expect.

I thought it would look so cute to put 3 or 4 together like a small village. Well...my beautiful pair that come back year after year, (I think!) moved into the village and I was thrilled.

I then waited for some of their friends to move in. To my great satisfaction another pair showed up.

I have a long front porch with a swing and I spent many garden breaks on that swing watching as the male stood guard and the female built her nest. All this time I thought I had two pairs of bluebirds in my little village.

Ahh...not true.

It took me a couple of weeks to realize that the same pair had built a nest in each of the 4 bluebird houses.

They finally chose one to lay their eggs and raise their young. They were also very successful in running off any other bluebirds.
They also ran off a pair of chickadees that tried to move into the village.

I was amazed that they would keep going from house to house even after the mama laid her eggs. I am not sure if they were using the other houses as decoys or if they were just trying out each one to see which they really liked.

This pair raised three sets of young over the summer months.

So here it is fall, actually it is almost Halloween and the days are getting short and cool.



I was pretty sure my pair had moved on for the winter. It is cold and raining today and I was standing at the back window looking out into the yard at the birds. I have several feeders and love to watch them.

Soon I saw a little fat bird all puffed up sitting on the deck railing. She looked very familiar and it took me a minute to realize she was a young female bluebird.

The next thing I see she has a bit of moss in her beak and she flies to one of the bluebird houses and goes in. I am astounded!

This is a new pair, the female is very small, much smaller than my regular pair. Soon the male, gorgeous blue, streaks in and joins her.

He sits on the top of the house and surveys his domain. Ready to protect his coming brood! I have never had any of my bluebirds stay into November and build a nest at this time of the year.

The good news is that here in the Atlanta, Georgia area we don't get really cold weather until late December and January.

I would love to hear of any other bluebirds nesting at this time of the year. Oh and by the way...I separated all the houses so I would hopefully get more pairs.

We will see how this all works out.

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Oct 20, 2014
Bluebirds and houses
by: Trish

I also have Bluebirds still nesting and it is getting very cold here in Mideast Michigan. The day was very sunny and beautiful here yesterday, Oct 19th 2014, and the Bluebirds were making another nest.

We had just cleaned out the house a few weeks earlier as they had left but yesterday they were very active and bringing dry grass and moss into the box they had left a couple weeks ago.

Very strange I thought and told my boyfriend to keep watch as they looked like they were making a new spot to stay for the winter with all the fluff they were bringing in.

Does anyone know why they would be doing this so late in October?

Jun 19, 2014
When to clean out the house
by: Leslie

The info was great! My bluebirds are still in and out of the nest babies too when do I clean it out or just leave it?

Mar 18, 2014
Bluebird family in Maryland
by: Ann

It was snowing in Maryland yesterday. To my
amazement, I saw a family of six bluebirds go into
one of our boxes during the snow.

I do not know how they had enough room, but they were inside.

They stayed overnight and are enjoying life today.
The family have been here over the winter from last year.

We are also enjoying them and the other birds. I had never seen this before, just read about it.

Jan 20, 2014
blue bird eggs mid January
by: Linda

On January 15, a week after my blue birds finished the first nest of 2014, Mama Blue laid her first egg. Today, January 20, Mama is sitting on the eggs.

We are to have freezing temperatures at night this week in Tyler TX. Last year the couple built a month later, in February, and I thought that was really early.

I am hoping that Mama and the little eggs can make it through this weather. Meal worms are coming tomorrow, so perhaps that will help.

Jan 19, 2014
Bluebirds are back.....
by: Anonymous

Pinehurst, NC... Bluebirds are back! It is cold and windy.
The mealworms are being eaten up faster then I can keep up with!

Jan 02, 2014
Bluebird pair
by: Linda

We live in PA,and we have a pair of Bluebirds that have been here for about a month. We are feeding them mealworms, and when it is snowing they sit up underneath of the wishing well to stay dry. I'm afraid with this bitter cold that's coming they will freeze.

Dec 12, 2013
Bluebirds in Atlanta on Dec 12
by: Anonymous

I'm always excited to see bluebirds in the early spring. However, today - in Duluth GA which is a northeast suburb that is colder than the rest of the city - I've got a pair of them feeding almost non-stop at my feeder.

They're eating both the seeds in the tray and the suet cake. I've never seen them at this time of the year and it's been a wonderful treat today to watch them with the cardinals, woodpeckers, chickadees, nuthatches and others.

Nov 30, 2013
Eastern New York
by: Joanne

It is Nov 30, 2013, I have Bluebirds in our nesting box! Its 28 degrees out there! I've put water out for them, but at this point that's all I can do ! Keeping my fingers crossed !

Nov 27, 2013
Bluebird of happiness
by: Michigander

Was astonished to see a bluebird out the kitchen window yesterday morning. I glanced at the thermometer noting it was 32F/0C! When I looked up again more were joining it.

One became 3, then 7. As I adjusted my gaze outward I was amazed to see more than a dozen moving around the yard. The leaves have left the trees and the hedge row is barren so they were easy to spot.

This sighting was even more unusual because in the 36 years my family has been in this house (I was 3!) we have never had a single bluebird.

We have been discussing what might have brought them here since our bird feeder is uncharistically empty, and my dad mentioned that our pear tree has fresh buds. Rather it did on Monday.

What a wonderful gift this Thanksgiving!

Nov 25, 2013
Eastern Bluebird Siting
by: Anonymous

We live in central Massachusetts and it is late November, 2013. We were coming down the road in our car and noticed a bird sitting on top of our mailbox. As we got closer, the bird flew up to the tree and I could see it was a blue bird. We got out of our car to get a better look and five more bluebirds appeared! They sat there on out lawn and mailbox for several minutes before flying into the rhododendrons we have in front of our house. It was such a nice and unexpected surprise to get, especially for this time of year!

Nov 25, 2013
they are back!
by: Anonymous

Yes, my precious, aggravating bluebirds are BACK! And it's really cold so I presume they were looking for a warm place to get out of the wind. But they are pecking at our windows just like they did when they were nesting earlier this year. We are in Roswell, GA.

Nov 24, 2013
November 24 2013-Bluebirds Abound
by: Anonymous

I live in middle GA. This morning I let my dogs out in the back yard and noticed a beautiful bright blue bird on the fence post, then another landed and I thought it came out of the bird house.

Next thing I knew, there were 3 pair flitting about. At one point 5 of them were perched along the fence line with one still checking out the house.

It really was an awesome sight. I would have loved to have gotten a picture, but the dogs ran by and the birds all took flight. Surely, they are not nesting or considering nesting????

Oct 21, 2013
more Atlanta birds
by: Anonymous

I'm in Atlanta(gwinnett) and never noticed my bluebirds in the fall till yesterday. 2 or 3 pairs hanging out by their box and checking out some small houses as well.

I always take them as my sign of spring. Will they stick around or migrate?? The last few winters have been so warm

Oct 08, 2013
My bluebirds
by: Gay B

I just noticed what I think are my original blue birds back checking out the houses in my back yard.
I couldn't imagine what they were doing this time of year- so it was good to see your comments. I am in VA, and worry it could get pretty cold - it was 48 degrees this am. I will keep watch and hope for the best!

Apr 13, 2013
Where are my bluebirds?
by: Anonymous

I live in Atlanta and have seen many Bluebirds in my yard and my neighbors as well over the last three seasons. This year not a one have I sighted. Usually they nest in my birdhouse around February and March, but not this year. What could it be?

Lee

Jan 22, 2013
Blue Birds in January???
by: Anonymous

We live in Northern In it is January 22 and we are below 0 and we have 5 males and 1 female drinking water. Is it too early for them this time a yr?

Wild-Bird-Watching.com

It's not uncommon to have Bluebirds in your area this time of year. As long as woodland shrubs have fruit available they'll be able to eat. Providing water in winter like you're doing is a real asset to them.

If times get too tough they'll retreat southward.

Jan 21, 2013
Is it too early for Blue Birds? They are Here!
by: Mr Gus

today is January 21, 2013 and much to my surprise I have a pair of blue birds building a nest in my blue bird house. Isn't it too early for them? Can they find enough food this time of year? Once I spotted them I put out dried meal worms and they immediately spotted them. Is there anything else I could put out for them?

Jan 16, 2013
Box of Males
by: Anonymous

I live in western pennsylvania. I always thought bluebirds flew south. I don't see them everyday but I do see them around.

When it gets really cold, around zero degrees or colder,they come to the boxes to spend the night.

One very cold February evening 2 years ago, the first time I witnessed this. I watched 10 males pile into the box in my backyard.

One actually got booted out and roosted in a tree very near to the box. Has anyone heard of this?

Oct 18, 2012
BLUEBIRDS in October in Georgia!
by: rlariscy@gmail.com

I am astounded! It is October 18 and after not having any bluebirds during the summer, I have two pair back now! They are having a ball in the fountain! I had one pair in spring, then one day I went outside and the door had swung open----I was so upset! I haven't seen any since until today! I will feed them all winter if they wish to hang around!!!

Oct 19, 2011
Blue Family Returns
by: Audrey

Our hot dry summer in Northeast Texas caused me to suspect the family of Bluebirds may have died or fled. Last week(Oct 12) all five (maybe Mom & Dad, 3 kids) were fluttering about the birdhouse, some scuffling on the ground, like a family reunion. This week it seems they've decided to build a nest, or are preparing for a winter abode? I'm going to put up a second house in hopes they'll stick together. Thank God for creating this entertainment right in my backyard!

Oct 08, 2011
Bluebirds nesting in Marietta, GA
by: Anonymous

The summer of 2011 was a productive one! Our Bluebirds nested and had babies three times. They always had 4-5 little ones and they all survived.

We have two Bluebird boxes in our back yard, but they always chose the same one. We fed them meal worms - somewhat expensive - but the Bluebirds love them and it helped make Mama strong for the coming births, as well as good nourishment for the babies afterwards.

We placed the mealworms right outside our sunroom window so we could observe them. It is a sight to see 5 little babies, plus Mama and Papa all trying to sit around this tiny feeder at the same time.

They loved it and ate like little piggies. When it was feeding time, I or my husband would go outside and whistle - always the same whistle to summon them.

After awhile they became used to the whistle and would come flying in like jet planes out of nowhere. We had a lot of enjoyment watching them all summer and can't wait until next year.

They would make good little tax deductions if IRS allowed it as the cost of the mealworms adds up - but it is worth it!!

Apr 07, 2011
Where are the nesting bluebirds in 2011?
by: Anonymous

I live in Atlanta, GA. I have had 3 bluebird boxes filled the past 2 years with nesting bluebirds. In February, 2011, I saw a number of bluebirds checking out the houses and feeding from the feeders. We had a cold snap in the weather in March. Now, it is in April and there are no bluebirds. Has anybody in Atlanta, GA had the same problem. I am very disappointed.

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