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Discover Nature: Eastern Bluebirds

An Eastern bluebird, with blue back and orange and white belly perches near the opening of a wooden nest box.
An Eastern bluebird perches at the opening of a bluebird nest box. This week is a good time to get bluebird clean-out and set-up boxes for Missouri’s state bird. ";

This week on Discover Nature, Eastern bluebirds begin arriving at breeding locations in Missouri.


The Eastern bluebird is a small thrush with a plump body and short, straight bill. Underparts are rusty in color, with white on the belly and under the tail feathers. Its upper body is bright blue in males, and gray-blue in females. 

The famous poet Henry David Thoreau once wrote that the bluebird “carries the sky on its back.” 

A blurry whistled series of notes comprise its distinctive, pleasant song. 

In the late weeks of winter and early spring, bluebirds begin nesting in tree cavities and manmade bluebird boxes. 

Bluebirds catch a variety of insect, including many that gardeners and farmers would rather not have on their crops. 

Our official state bird, the Eastern bluebird is a harbinger of spring, as warmer weather brings them to nesting sites across Missouri. 

Place nest boxes this week, and enjoy watching them raise their families through the summer. 

Learn more about the Eastern bluebird, including how to build and properly place nest boxes for them, with the Missouri Department of Conservation’s online field guide.

Discover Nature is sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation.

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