When Do Bluebirds Nest and Lay Eggs?

Learn what time of year when bluebirds nest, what bluebird eggs look like, and how many broods these colorful songbirds raise in a year.

bluebird nest and baby bluebirdCourtesy Ann Conway
Baby bluebird in a nest

“When do bluebirds nest, and how many times can bluebirds nest in one year? I have one bluebird house that is being used for the third time this year. The first brood had six eggs and the second nest had four eggs. She’s still tending the third nest which had four eggs,” asks Francis Coverdale of Woodbine, New Jersey.

Having bluebirds nesting in your yard is such a special treat. It’s great that yours have been so successful—a sign that your yard is bluebird-friendly! Bluebirds begin scouting out nest boxes as early as late February, or even earlier in the south. If conditions are favorable, they sometimes continue nesting into August or even September. Do birds reuse their nests?

bluebird eggs and hatchlingCourtesy Heather Parker
Bluebird eggs and a hatchling

Bluebird Eggs

Typically bluebirds lay fewer eggs in a clutch later in the season, as you observed. The number of broods depends on many factors, including weather and food supply. Most bluebird pairs raise one or two broods per season, but some raise three broods, rarely even four or five. Bluebird eggs are a little larger and a deeper blue than robin eggs. Eastern bluebirds found in the north and west reaches of their range tend to lay more eggs.

Bluebirds form close knit families. Young birds from the first brood often help out with other broods by gathering food for their siblings. What do bluebirds eat in winter?

While bluebirds do use nesting boxes, they also often nest in abandoned woodpecker cavities up to 50 feet off the ground. Learn where to place a bluebird nest box.

Want to help bluebirds? Here’s how to become a volunteer bluebird monitor.

Kenn and Kimberly Kaufman
Kenn and Kimberly are the official Birds & Blooms bird experts. They are the duo behind the Kaufman Field Guide series. They speak and lead bird trips all over the world. When they're not traveling, they enjoy watching birds and other wildlife in their Northwest Ohio backyard. Fascinated with the natural world since the age of 6, Kenn has traveled to observe birds on all seven continents, and has authored or coauthored 14 books about birds and nature, including include seven titles in his own series, Kaufman Field Guides, designed to encourage beginners by making the first steps in nature study as easy as possible. His next book, The Birds That Audubon Missed, is scheduled to be published by Simon & Schuster in May 2024. Kenn is a Fellow of the American Ornithological Society, and has received the American Birding Association’s lifetime achievement award twice. Kimberly is the Executive Director of Black Swamp Bird Observatory (BSBO) in northwest Ohio. She became the Education Director in 2005 and Executive Director in 2009. As the Education Director, Kimberly played a key role in building BSBO’s school programs, as well as the highly successful Ohio Young Birders Club, a group for teenagers that has served as a model for youth birding programs. Kimberly is also the co-founder of The Biggest Week In American Birding, the largest birding festival in the U.S. Under Kimberly’s leadership, BSBO developed a birding tourism season in northwest Ohio that brings an annual economic impact of more than $40 million to the local economy. She is a contributing editor to Birds & Blooms Magazine, and coauthor of the Kaufman Field Guides to Nature of New England and Nature of the Midwest. Accolades to her credit include the Chandler Robbins Award, given by the American Birding Association to an individual who has made significant contributions to education and/or bird conservation. In 2017, she received a prestigious Milestone Award from the Toledo Area YWCA. Kimberly serves on the boards of Shores and Islands Ohio and the American Bird Conservancy.