Bluebirds — A Sign of Spring

Bluebirds are a sign of spring!

Bliss BluebirdYou may not be thinking about spring right now, but the bluebirds are! They have already started on their northern migration, and they’re looking around for prime real estate. Eastern Bluebirds normally start scouting out their nesting sites in February in the south, and they start looking in the north in March into April. Bluebirds normally hatch out two and sometimes three broods a year, so they like to get started early.

Bliss Bluebirds 4Have you put your bluebird houses up yet? There’s no right or wrong time to install them because birds will use them year round. Even when the bluebirds aren’t raising their young, they like to use their houses as warm, safe places to spend cold nights.

Bliss Bluebirds 1It won’t be long before the bluebirds start building their nests and getting ready for the young. There are many things we can do to attract these magical birds to our yards and help them along. Upcoming articles will talk about the best way to site a bluebird house and other ways of supporting them during their migration and breeding seasons. But for now, I hope you will be as inspired as we are by these beautiful pictures from our friend Robert Bliss in W. Hurley, New York. Just click on the photos to enjoy them in their full size versions.

Bliss bluebirdyStay warm, and make every day a happy bird day!

Heidi Babb

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  • Ralph March 7, 2015 at 8:08 am

    I see my bluebirds are back (I live in Mass), which is great. However I never cleaned out the old nest. Is it too late to do so now that they have moved back in?


    • Heidi Babb March 13, 2015 at 3:56 pm

      Great question! If the bluebirds have moved back in, I would just leave them be for now. But keep an eye on the next box and after the first crop of babies has fledged you might want to clean it out to get ready for a second brood. Enjoy those magical bluebirds!

  • Ralph March 17, 2015 at 8:33 am


  • Robert Bliss March 22, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    I agree, it’s a good idea to clean your bird boxes out after birds have fledged. But here’s something most people don’t do, or know about. I’ve discovered if you leave the nesting material in your bird boxes at the end of the season, after all birds have fledged, they make for a great winter roost for may different bird species. I also put my Duncraft Roost Boxes out for the same purpose. And they offer communal roosting for several or more birds together during very cold weather. You’ll be lending a helping hand to our beautiful birds.

    • Heidi Babb March 27, 2015 at 1:40 pm

      Very true! If you do want to clean out your houses at the end of the season, you might want to add a layer of wood shavings to the nest box or roost house for added winter warmth.

  • Bill March 23, 2015 at 7:52 am

    Where are our bluebirds this year? We have a bluebird house that has raised many broods over the past 8’years, but the blue birds left a month ago and we have not seen them since. They normally start preparing their nest by now. We had a very cold winter and our bluebirds do not migrate here in East Tennessee. Could that be the issue?


    • Heidi Babb March 27, 2015 at 1:53 pm

      Great question! The bluebirds are nesting in your area already this spring. Migration is impacted by both weather and food availability, so the cold winter may have played into how many birds have stayed in your area. Bluebirds are considered “partial migrants,” which is to say that in a given area, some individuals will migrate and others will spend the winter near or on their breeding territories. So maybe some of your bluebirds are on their way up to visit us in New Hampshire!

  • Valorie Kelly April 8, 2017 at 9:38 am

    I live in northern Michigan and would like to attract blue birds….am I too late?

    • Heidi Babb April 10, 2017 at 11:41 am

      The best time to put out any nest box is TODAY! First of all, the bluebirds don’t all arrive on one day and start building nests — it happens over time. Plus, the first nest site that a bird chooses may not work out, so the bird is back in the real estate market. And that can happen at any point during the summer. Also, even during the winter, some birds might be grateful to find a sheltered place to roost during a cold night. So any time is a good time to put up a bird house.