Youngstown and Mahoning County Public Library: Blue Birds of Happiness
Celebrate National Blue Bird Happiness Day on September 24!
Bluebirds have been immortalized in myths and folklore since the earliest times. The Chinese used them on bone inscriptions as early as 1000 BC. Native American folklore includes the Cochiti tribe, where the Sun’s eldest son was named Bluebird. The Navajo tribe associates the morning sun with the mountain blue bird and sings the â€œsong of the blue birdâ€ to ask the tribe members to wake up and greet the sun each morning. In Russian fairy tales, the blue bird is a symbol of hope.
In 1910, a play called The blue Bird was inspired by an ancient story. The play was later adapted into a children’s novel, an opera, and at least seven films between 1910 and 2002. There is a song, “Be Like the Bluebird” in the musical. Everything is fine. And we’ll never forget the lyrics “Somewhere over the rainbow, blue birds are flying” from the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz.
All about blue birds
So what is a blue bird? They are also known as the blue robin or the blue robin. There are three species in North America, the most common being the Eastern Bluebird, which stretches between Canada and Texas as far as Florida. It is part of the group of birds known as the thrush. It is about the same size as a sparrow and cousin of the robin. The male has a blue back and a reddish chest. The female is duller in color. Bluebirds mate for life as long as both are alive. Eastern bluebirds can live up to six to ten years. They were once common in Ohio and known for their song in an era when the countryside was mostly made up of small fields, pastures, and orchards. But agriculture has changed over the years; small farms have been replaced with chemicals that reduce the number of insects available for birds to eat. Populations of starlings and house sparrows have also increased, causing competition for nesting sites as well.
Bluebirds hatch two to three families of young each year, from March to August. They have more broods in southern climates than in the northern parts of their breeding range. The nest is made of grass and pine needles by the female. She finds a cavity or crevice in which to build the nest, which may include a hole in a tree or a birdhouse. She lays three to six eggs, one per day, and incubates them for two weeks. After that, both parents feed the young for about 18 days. Then the male teaches the young to hunt insects while the female rests or builds a new nest. Bluebirds like to inhabit holes left by woodpeckers in decaying trees that are two to twelve feet above the ground.
The blue bird eats insects and sometimes fruit in summer, and especially fruit in winter when it does not find insects.
The enemies of the blue bird include the house sparrow, which will destroy the blue bird’s eggs. Raccoons, cats, opossums, foxes, snakes, and other large birds also eat bluebird eggs or young. Parasites, including the larvae of meat flies, have a huge impact on young birds.
How are you going to find a blue bird to observe? They can be found best in an open area with short grass from which they can sit on a high perch and watch for insects. They nest in dead trees, so you might find them there.
To attract bluebirds to a feeder, add mealworms, tallow, sunflower hearts, red berries, especially apples and pears, or whole or diced raspberries and blackberries, and even raisins. during the winter months. They will also eat eggshells at times when the female needs extra calcium for her egg production. A feeder designed specifically for bluebirds has a large roof and a small entrance hole. There are many websites and books that will teach you how to build a blue bird house.
Bluebirds are a delight to have in your garden. They return the favor by keeping your garden free of insects!
Further reading on blue birds
What are blue birds doing. Kirby, Pamela F. Honesdale, Pennsylvania: Boyds Mills Press. 2009. J598.8 K631w
Birdsong: 250 North American birds singing. Beletsky, Les. Bellevue, Washington: Becker & Mayer Books, 2018. 598.072 Bele
The Big Book of Bird Houses and Bird Feeders. Boswell, Thom. New York: Sterling Pub. Co. 2004. 598.26 B657b2
Miss Cindy has been around Ohio libraries for many years. She creates programs for all ages because even if she loves the little ones, her passion is to do “stuff”. Cindy’s husband asks that you don’t show him or tell him new “stuff”. But Cindy knows you’re going to listen to her, and she’s going to make it a lickety-split program!
This press release was produced by the Youngstown and Mahoning County Public Library. The opinions expressed here are those of the author.