Eastern bluebird

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More names for this bird

Anishinaabemowin: Ozhaawashko-Bineshiinh

The Dakota and Anishinaabe were among the earliest people to name Minnesota’s plants and animals, as well as to understand them in relation to Minnesota’s climate and seasons. Those original names are still in use, and several are included on the Season Watch website. However, complete translations were not available.

Latin (or scientific name): Sialia sialis

The scientific community has a convention of assigning agreed-upon Latin names to every kind of organism. Using scientific names helps people communicate confidently about the same organism and organize lifeforms based on how closely related they are.

Eastern bluebird with orange breast, bright blue upper parts. Holds a large insect in its bill.
Eastern bluebird with invertebrate prey item in its bill.
May 29, 2019, Ramsey County, Minnesota
Photo © ComoHabitat, some rights reserved (CC-BY-NC-ND)
iNaturalist observation

About the eastern bluebird

  • The eastern bluebird is a songbird slightly smaller than a robin. It has a rusty throat and breast, blue above, with the female being a bit grayer.
  • For much of the year their diet consists of insects like grasshoppers and crickets caught on the ground. In winter, they eat a variety of fruits including blueberries, hackberries and juniper berries.
  • Bluebirds nest in tree cavities or nestboxes.
  • The female bluebird incubates her eggs from eleven to nineteen days. Young leave the nest seventeen to twenty-one days after hatching.
  • Fun fact: Despite their small size, bluebirds can capture and eat larger prey items such as shrews, salamanders, snakes, lizards and tree frogs.
  • Eastern bluebirds migrate. Expand the "Migration animation" section below to learn more.

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Migration animation

Click the full-frame icon (lower right corner of video) to play at full size.

Video file

More about eBird's abundance animations

eBird data from 2006-2020. Estimated for 2020. Fink, D., T. Auer, A. Johnston, M. Strimas-Mackey, O. Robinson, S. Ligocki, W. Hochachka, L. Jaromczyk, C. Wood, I. Davies, M. Iliff, L. Seitz. 2021. eBird Status and Trends, Data Version: 2020; Released: 2021. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. https://doi.org/10.2173/ebirdst.2020

Visual guide to phenology

Watch for changes in bluebirds' presence (or absence), abundance, and behaviors at different times of year. Also, pay attention to when young-of-year fledge and develop.

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Note to observers

This page explains general clues to watch and listen for when observing eastern bluebird phenology. However, this page does not explain how to identify this bird or collect data in a standardized way.

Five eastern bluebirds perched in a tree with berries
Two eastern bluebirds perched on an artificial nesting box.
Two eastern bluebirds perched at a nest box with nesting material in their bills
Female eastern bluebird outside a nest. From inside the cavity, a young bluebird begs for food.
One eastern bluebird feeds an invertebrate prey item to another.
One adult and two fledgling eastern bluebirds near a nest. A lush green field in the background.
Eastern bluebird with intermediate plumage. Blue adult body feathers and streaky juvenile head feathers.
Two eastern bluebirds perched in a leafless tree with bright blue sky behind them.

Audio resources

Visit All About Birds for recordings of songs and calls by eastern bluebirds.

Graphs and historical data

Note: The Orientation Center provides a map, as well as information on reading graphs; interpreting summary statistics, who collected the data and how; and how to download datasets for independent exploration.

Hubbard County

First seen

  • Earliest: March 15 (occurred in 2012)
  • Average: April 1
  • Latest: April 29 (occurred in 2013)
Scatterplot showing eastern bluebird phenology observations in Hubbard County, Minnesota

Download this dataset (.csv file)

Sherburne County


  • Earliest: February 16 (occurred in 1985)
  • Average: March 17
  • Latest: April 3 (occurred in 2013)
Scatterplot showing eastern bluebird phenology in Sherburne County, Minnesota

Download this dataset (.csv file)