How to Welcome Bluebirds to Your Yard

Want blue in your garden? Invite bluebirds to set up housekeeping. garden experts showcase how to welcome bluebirds to your yard, including tips on using bluebird houses and bluebird feeders.

Eastern Bluebird

Bluebirds readily nest in yards. Their bug-eating habits make them great assets in helping reduce backyard bug populations.

Photo by: Bill Thompson for U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service at

Bill Thompson for U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service at

In song and story, bluebirds fly over the rainbow and bring happiness. When bluebirds nest in your yard, it is joyful. These brightly tinted native birds share their gentle personalities, warbling song and brilliant color. Even better, bluebirds live on insects, which means having them around helps keep bugs in check.

But the most important reason to invite bluebirds is because they can use the help. Bluebirds have a history that includes a serious decline in numbers due to things like suburban sprawl, habitat removal, competition from non-native invasive bird species and widespread pesticide use. Efforts at providing nest boxes for bluebirds have helped numbers rebound, but there’s still room for improvement. When you choose to welcome bluebirds to your yard, you’re helping to save a native species. That’s green living at its best.

There are three types of bluebirds: Eastern, Mountain or Western. Attract any of these blues by following a few simple steps.

Male And Female Eastern Bluebird

Bluebird Pair

Feeding bluebirds mealworms is one way to help supplement their diet of insects. Male Eastern bluebirds are bright blue; females are a duskier gray-blue.

Photo by: Missouri Department of Conservation at

Missouri Department of Conservation at

Consider Habitat

Bluebirds live in areas that are open—near farm fields, meadows and open woodland. These perky songsters aren’t shy to live in a typical yard, as long as there’s an open lawn area that provides good insect hunting. Bluebirds hunt insects from a perch, observing the surrounding landscape until they spot a potential meal—then they pounce. In most neighborhoods, perches are widely available, including utility wires, street signs and fences. Bluebirds also perch on mailboxes, basketball backboards and garden trellises.


Gilbertson Bluebird House

The Gilbertson bluebird house is made from PVC that’s painted to mimic a tree trunk. It’s a good choice in areas where English house sparrows compete with bluebirds.

Photo by: Julie Martens Forney

Julie Martens Forney

Provide Shelter

In the wild, bluebirds nest in holes in a dead tree. Bluebird nest box designs mimic a tree cavity. Many types of next boxes exist, including the traditional wooden box often seen on golf courses or public lands, to the Gilbertson PVC box, which is painted to resemble a white birch tree trunk. Do some research to discover which box style provides the best fit for your setting. Local bluebird organizations exist coast to coast, and provides a wealth of free info for bluebird hosts. In the South, aim to have nest boxes in place by February; in northern areas, by mid- to late March.

Offer Water

Bluebirds flock to the sound of moving water. A fountain or birdbath dripper can be a big help in beckoning bluebirds.

Bird Nest With Eggs

Bluebird Nest

Bluebirds build a grassy, cup shape nest that they fill with 4 to 6 powder blue eggs.

Photo by: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service at

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service at

Serve Food

During nesting season, bluebirds feast on insects. Reduce pesticide use around your home, yard and garden. Bluebirds can’t resist live mealworms in a feeder. During winter, bluebirds also eat berries and small fruit. Native plants like dogwoods, eastern red cedar, holly, pokeweed and viburnums offer berries bluebirds love. 

Next Up

How to Make Suet to Attract Birds to Your Yard

Make a high-fat supplemental treat to bring birds to your yard.

Birdwatching 101

Learn more about the feathered friends in your backyard.

Hummingbird 101

Entice these enchanting birds to make a stop in your garden.

35 Best Bird Feeders and Accessories for Your Yard

Want to attract pollinating birds to your yard and garden? Check out our recommendations for the best bird feeders, including window feeders, stylish handmade feeders, squirrel-deterring feeders and more.

Simple Hummingbird Nectar Recipe

This easy and inexpensive hummingbird food recipe will have these beloved pollinators making return visits to your garden for your DIY hummingbird nectar.

Feeding Birds in Winter: To Stop or Not to Stop?

Do birds suffer when the feeders stay empty?

For the Birds: How to Attract Wildlife in Winter

With the right mix of trees and shrubs, your backyard can become a winter haven for birds.

How to Build a Bluebird House

Attract bluebirds to your yard and help increase their population by building them a nestbox. This is a great project for a beginner woodworker that can be completed in an afternoon.

How to Make a Colorful Birdbath

Even when the birds aren't dipping, sipping and sunning, this easy-to-make, easy-to-clean birdbath is plenty festive in the garden.

How to Turn a Liquor Bottle Into a Hummingbird Feeder

Learn the secret for drilling holes in heavy-bottom bottles so you can upcycle them into unique hummingbird feeders.

Go Shopping

Spruce up your outdoor space with products handpicked by HGTV editors.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.