How to Welcome Bluebirds to Your Yard

Want blue in your garden? Invite bluebirds to set up housekeeping.

HGTV.com 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 FWS.gov

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

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 Mdc.Mo.gov

Missouri Department of Conservation at Mdc.Mo.gov

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.

Birdhouse

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 Sialis.org 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 FWS.gov

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service at FWS.gov

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

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.

Hummingbird 101

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

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.

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.

The Winter Benefits of Enriched Bird Food

Master gardener Maureen Gilmer gives tips on feeding birds in the winter.

Where is the Best Place to Put a Hummingbird Feeder?

Invite energetic hummers to your yard with a nectar-filled feeder.

Make a Splash: 15 Beautiful Birdbaths for Every Style

Feathered friends will flock to these eye-catching birdbath designs.

Yes, You Want to Attract Bats to Your Yard and Here's Why

Everyone knows birds and bees help pollinate your landscape, but did you know bats are pollinators too? Not only will they help your garden grow, bats can eat THOUSANDS of insects in just one hour! Buh-bye mosquitoes!

10 Budget-Friendly Buys You Didn't Know You Needed for Your Garden

Upgrade your outdoor space with these beautiful and functional finds under $50.

How to Keep Rabbits Out of the Garden Without Harming Them

Fed up with rabbits damaging your garden? Follow these tips on how to stop rabbits from eating plants in your garden.

Go Shopping

Get product recommendations from HGTV editors, plus can’t-miss sales and deals.

On TV

House Hunters

7:30am | 6:30c

House Hunters

8:30am | 7:30c

House Hunters

9:30am | 8:30c

House Hunters

10am | 9c

House Hunters

10:30am | 9:30c

House Hunters

11am | 10c

House Hunters

11:30am | 10:30c

House Hunters

12pm | 11c

House Hunters

12:30pm | 11:30c

Home Town

1pm | 12c

Home Town

2pm | 1c

Home Town

3pm | 2c

Home Town

4pm | 3c

Home Town

5pm | 4c

Home Town

6pm | 5c

Home Town

7pm | 6c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Home Town

8pm | 7c

Home Town

9pm | 8c

House Hunters

10pm | 9c

House Hunters

11pm | 10c

Home Town

12am | 11c

Home Town

1am | 12c

Home Town

4am | 3c

Home Town

5am | 4c

Follow Us Everywhere

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