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Western Bluebird

Order: Passeriformes
Family: Turdidae
Genus: Sialia
Species: mexicana

 
La. passer  sparrow, small bird
La. forma  form, kind, species
La. turdus  a thrush
Gr. sialis  a kind of bird
Aztec Mexitili  god of war

 

 
 
Western Bluebird, Allan Brooks, Birds of Western Canada, P.A. Taverner, 1926
 
Allan Brooks
 
About six inches long. Rich azure blue head, neck, back, rump and tail. Reddish brown breast, flanks and a purplish chestnut patch on the upper back. Grayish blue belly. Black beak and eyes.

Western Bluebirds inhabit forest edges, groves and small tree stands, open country, farms and towns in western North America in the Rocky Mountains from British Columbia, all along the Pacific Coast and the arid Southwest, to southern Mexico, overlapping the Mountain Bluebird range.
 

USGS Western Bluebird Map
 

Builds nests of sticks, grass, rubbish and feathers in natural or abandoned tree and post hollows, abandoned mud nests of cliff swallows, between tree trunks and their loose bark, barns, cabins and odd building nooks and crannies and birdhouses.

Lays four to six bluish white eggs which hatch after about two weeks incubation and young leave the nest in about another three weeks.

Forage for beetles, spiders, caterpillars and grasshoppers. They also eat berries and other odd fruit.

 
The Western Bluebird Birdhouse (same as for Mountain Bluebird) has a 5" by 5" floor, 9" inside ceiling, 1 9/16" diameter entrance hole located 7" above the floor and ventilation openings. Hinged roof is secured with shutter hooks.

Mount bluebird houses 3� - 6� high on a post in woodland clearings, shelter belt edges bordering fields, among scattered trees, or pasture fence lines.
 

Nestbox Plans for Western and Mountain Bluebirds
Western & Mountain Bluebird Nest Box Plans
 

English sparrows, tree swallows, violet green swallows, titmice, wrens, chickadees, nuthatches and downy woodpeckers may use this box.

Make a "bluebird trail" of several houses about 100 yards apart; further in wide open expanses and closer in clearings of wooded areas.

On fence lines mount houses on the sides of posts facing the next post. The recessed position helps avoid cattle or other large animals that like to rub against them. Monitor the boxes for unwanted squatters. Deter predators with steel posts or sheet metal wrapped around wood posts. Avoid shade, but also avoid direct sunlight through the entrance if possible.

Tree Swallows and Violet Green Swallows make good neighbors and will help defend against sparrows. See their birdhouse plans below.
 

 

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