How many of these top 20 bits did you already know?
- Bluebirds are members of the thrush family.
- There are three bluebirds in North America, including the eastern, western and mountain bluebirds.
- Insects like grasshoppers, crickets and beetles make up most of bluebirds' diets.
- Attract bluebirds to your windowsills by putting out mealworms.
- Bluebirds will eat at feeders if you have a peanut butter and cornmeal mixture.
- Bluebird nests are built mostly by the female in natural tree cavities, old woodpecker holes, rail fences, holes in stumps and bird boxes.
- Nests are made of dried grasses, pine needles, weed stems, fine twigs, and are lined with finer grasses, hairs and feathers.
- Young bluebirds leave the nest 15-20 days after hatching.
- Bluebirds can fly up to 17 miles per hour.
- Serious competition occurs between bluebirds, starlings and house sparrows over nesting holes.
- Bluebirds are unique to North America. Despite the reference to England in Nat Burton's song, bluebirds are only found on our continent.
- Bluebirds are family oriented. The courting male dotes on the female, waving his wings, enticing her to select a nest site and offering her treats.
- Male bluebirds courageously guard the box during nest construction.
- Male bluebird deliver food to incubating females and participate equally in feeding nestlings and fledglings.
- In the days before pesticides, farmers put up nest boxes around their fields, as they were aware that bluebirds eat many insects.
- Bluebirds are considered harbingers of spring. Although they may overwinter in colder climes, they actively begin house hunting in February and March, signaling better weather ahead.
- Bluebirds are associated with hope, happiness and many other things we love. As a result, they have probably appeared in more songs, poems and literature than any other bird.
- In 1909, Maurice Maeterlinck published The Blue Bird, a fairy tale about the bluebird of happiness. In 1934, tenor Jan Peerce made Bluebird of Happiness a hit.
- One of the most famous WWII-era pop classics was a Nat Burton song sung by Vera Lynn. "There'll be bluebirds over the white cliffs of Dover, tomorrow just you wait and see."
- In 1939, Judy Garland sang plaintively, "Somewhere over the rainbow, bluebirds fly."
Bet Zimmerman from Woodstock, Connecticut helped us pull together these facts.