How to Attract Bluebirds

Wondering how to attract bluebirds to your backyard? We'll show you how with these tips and tricks from our experts.

Bluebirds are real crowd-pleasers. North America boasts three distinct species: eastern bluebirds in the east and both western and mountain bluebirds in the west.

If you want to feed them in your own backyard, provide mealworms. Live worms are always best, but you can try dried mealworms as well. If you’re feeling ambitious, raise your own mealworms for an unending supply.

If you’ve had trouble knowing how to attract bluebirds in the past, follow these four steps. First, get a nest box especially designed for them. Then, hang it so it faces an open area or field. Next, offer mealworms. Finally, don’t forget the birdbath, which is a big hit with bluebirds. And here’s one more bonus—plant native trees and shrubs with berries. Bluebirds will stick around all year, and they need something to eat in fall and winter!

Many will use a cavity or nest box, raising one to three broods per season. Females lay two to seven pale blue (occasionally white) eggs, and once the young hatch, they fledge about three weeks later.

Bluebirds can form close-knit families. The young from the first brood of chicks will often help out with subsequent broods by gathering food for the new offspring.

    • Jana Federer says

      I had the same problem with sparrows. I got rid of all my old wooden bird houses and stopped putting out mixed bird seed which attracts the sparrows. After a little research online, I found a birdhouse called the Gilbertson Nest Box. The bluebirds were immediately attracted. The sparrows don’t like it perhaps because of its shape. I also have a great bluebird feeder for mealworms–it has wire around it and the bluebirds just hop in. The wire squares are too small for the pesky birds. Also be sure to have a birdbath kept filled with clean water. I have bluebirds year round (in Michigan) and currently I have a pair nesting. You can find the Gilbertson birdhouse on Amazon. Hope this helps!

    • Eldon says

      Buy a VanErt trap which will catch birds alive in the box. Use a plastic bag placed over the box to catch the bird when you open the box. Let any native birds like bluebirds or tree swallows go. Kill any house sparrows that you catch. They are not native to America and will destroy bluebird eggs and nests. I caught over 40 sparrows last year using this technique

    • says

      My bird book says to hang the bluebird box lower to discourage the more wary house sparrow/sparrows. 4-5 feet from the ground. Away from humans if you can and facing east/south-east and towards open land.
      Hope that helps.

  1. Teresita hamilton says

    My daughter lives in Marietta, Ga. When ever we visit I watch the feeder have at least 3 to 4 Blue birds. She don’t do anything but hand a bottle full of mealworms ( not live). I live in Florida and I could not attract them. That is why I ask how to raise Mealworms.

  2. Terry says

    Actually, Eastern Bluebirds are fairly abundant in Bermuda. However they are often limited to one or two broods in June due to the house sparrows.

  3. Michael Cranford says

    For the last two winters, I’ve been able to attract the bluebirds with Wildbirds Unlimited’s shellless seed.This is the first time since 2006 that they have come to our yard to feed. It is now 03/02/2016 and they are still feeding. I even have a robin that will eat the seed. That’s a first for our backyard. Now if I could only get rid of the starlings.

  4. Bonnie Gates says

    For years I tried to attract Bluebirds using regular wood Bluebird houses, never getting Bluebirds, but lots of House Sparrows. Once I put out a Gilbertson Box, it took only 3 days before it was occupied by Bluebirds! I was thrilled! The House Sparrows ignore it for the most part. But beware! They may not want to nest in it, but they attacked the 2nd Bluebird clutch, and killed 2 of the baby Bluebirds. I was devastated! This year my Bluebirds returned, and so far have laid 3 eggs. I’m trying a Sparrow Spooker this year to keep those Sparrows away! Hopefully it will work!

  5. Martha Whiddon says

    I feed blue birds peanut butter suet. They love it! I tried meal worms a few years ago and they would not touch them!
    However, they love love love the bird bath.

  6. says

    I did this for years in Mass.That trap is the best,but you have to be willing to destroy those pesky sparrows when you catch them and that’s not easy,but worth it.

  7. says

    You can drill a 1 1/4″hole in the top of the birdhouse. Sparrows won’t nest where rain gets in. Blue birds don’t care if they get rained on. We’ve done this for 3 years now,and have no more problems with sparrows using the house or killing the birds. Don’t use mixed wild bird seed. It brings in all the bad birds.

  8. Fred says

    If the idea of snapping a house sparrow’s neck unsettles you, you can just clip the 3 outside flight feathers, they can still fly, but will soon become pry for predators .

  9. David Gerrol says

    I can’t believe that anyone who truly loves birds would be killing them. It’s not our place to determine who shall live and who shall die. I am outraged. The editors of Birds and Blooms should be as well.

  10. Marcia Fuhrman says

    I have had bluebirds for the past two years and they have had numerous nestings in the house but they have not touched the meal worms either. I have another bluebird house and the sparrows take over that every Spring, and they do go to the house when the bluebirds are nesting and peek in or go in when they are out.

  11. Jimi says

    Maybe if you’ve ever seen the death and destruction inflicted upon our native birds (their eggs and their young too!) by the House Sparrow, which, by the way, is an invasive species here in the States, you would understand why people have resorted to such methods in order to conserve our beautiful birds.


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