Return to the Wild - Evolving perspectives on Canadian wildlife
The eastern bluebird's Canadian range extends from Saskatchewan to Nova Scotia.

Did you know?

The eastern bluebird’s eggs are pale blue, sometimes white.

Scientific name: Sialia sialis
Average weight: 26 g–34 g
Average length: 16 cm–19 cm
Average wingspan: 29 cm–34 cm
Average lifespan: 2–4 years
An eastern bluebird perched on a thin branch.

Canadian Geographic articles

Bluebird revival

By Frances Backhouse
April/May 1986

Delving into the ecology of bluebirds, writer Frances Backhouse explores the conservation and recovery of the bluebird in Canada.

Actually divided into three different species — the eastern, western and mountain bluebirds – the small sparrow-sized animals are remarkable for their brilliant blue plumage, the males being almost entirely brilliant azure, and the females showing mostly grey with blue on their wings and tail. Curiously, the blue colour occurs not as a result of pigment, but because the feathers reflect the blue of the sky.

In the mid-20th century, observers of bluebirds began to notice a marked decline in all three populations. This was chalked up to the introduction of the house sparrow and the European starling — both species hitched their way over with settlers in the 1800s.

The starling and the sparrow compete with the native bluebirds for nesting space (ideally, all the birds strive to nest in an already existing, protected space, such as a hollow tree trunk). Due to the highly aggressive nature of the sparrows and starlings, the bluebird found itself at a disadvantage and unable to effectively reproduce. The bluebirds also found themselves victim of encroaching human development on their preferred habitats.

The struggle to save the birds was not headed up by ornithologists (though they contributed their considerable expertise), but rather amateur birdwatchers and bluebird lovers. They recognized the threats and began to provide birdhouses for the declining population, built with the ability to monitor and easily protect the bluebirds. Slowly, but surely, the numbers of bluebirds began to climb once more and currently there is a stable population of all three types of bluebirds throughout North America.

If you do not have Acrobat Reader®, please click on the following link Adobe Reader to download it from the Adobe® Web site.