Subscribe to BirdNote

Sign up to receive a weekly email preview of the following week's shows!

Sign Up
Support BirdNote

Help BirdNote tell more stories, reach more people, and inspire action.


You are here

Western Bluebird (Sialia mexicana)

Related shows:

Nest Cavities - Book Early

Swallows and bluebirds — like this Western Bluebird — are among the earliest northbound migrants to arrive, heralding spring a month before the equinox. Both species will nest only in cavities, such as old woodpecker holes or man-made nestboxes. But the supply of specialized nest sites is limited... read more »

Topics & Themes:  nesting

Why Are Bluebirds Blue?

Why are bluebirds blue? Unlike many other bird colors, blue is not a pigment but a color produced by the structure of the feathers. Tiny air pockets and melanin pigment crystals in each feather scatter blue light and absorb the other wavelengths. The even finer structure of the feather gathers... read more »

Topics & Themes:  science

Birds Helping People - Vineyards

In some vineyards of Napa and Sonoma Counties in California, owls patrol by night, and kestrels, harriers, and other raptors take the day-watch. They eat the mice, rats, and gophers that nibble on the roots of young grapevines. Other birds help, too, including this Western Bluebird. Wineries put... read more »

Topics & Themes:  human interaction

Birds Return with the Light

Winter's weak light is finally beginning to strengthen, and some birds, long absent, have begun their journeys north. Tree Swallows, such as this one, phoebes, bluebirds, and more return with the light. So be of good cheer, the birds and Spring are coming back. You can learn more about this... read more »

Topics & Themes:  migration, vocalization

State Birds

All 50 states and the District of Columbia have official birds. To become a state bird, it helped to be familiar, colorful, and have a punchy song. The Northern Cardinal perches as state bird in seven eastern states, the Western Meadowlark in six western states. Bluebirds - like this Western... read more »

Topics & Themes:  history

People Helping Bluebirds - Interview with Barb Jensen

By the late 1950s, Western Bluebirds had disappeared from the San Juan Islands of Washington State. But in 2010, 84 young Western Bluebirds were banded on San Juan Island. How? Barbara Jensen, president of San Juan Islands Audubon, says: "The key to bringing this together has been the incredible... read more »

Topics & Themes:  environmental champion, nesting

Ponderosa Pine Savanna

In a Western ponderosa pine savanna, tall pines dot an open, grassy landscape. A Western Bluebird flits from a gnarly branch, as this Cassin's Finch belts out a rapid song. The trees here grow singly or in small stands. Upslope, the pines become denser, mixing with firs. Downhill, the trees give... read more »


Clean Nestboxes in October

It’s a beautiful moment when your backyard birds — like these Black-capped Chickadees — depart their nestboxes. By October, it’s time for one last duty as nestbox landlord: to clean it out. Cleaning will reduce the incidence of parasites in the box and make it more inviting to next spring’s... read more »

Topics & Themes:  nesting