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Discover Nature: Eastern Bluebirds

Two Eastern bluebird, one bright blue and orange, the other more drab blue and crimson perch on a tree branch.
Eastern Bluebirds (Male and Female) perch on a tree branch. Attracting nesting bluebirds with nest boxes can offer a great way to enjoy nature at home. This week is a good time to 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. 


Kyle Felling was born in the rugged northwest Missouri hamlet of St. Joseph (where the Pony Express began and Jesse James ended). Inspired from a young age by the spirit of the early settlers who used St. Joseph as an embarkation point in their journey westward, Kyle developed the heart of an explorer and yearned to leave for adventures of his own. Perhaps as a result of attending John Glenn elementary school, young Kyle dreamed of becoming an astronaut, but was disheartened when someone told him that astronauts had to be good at math. He also considered being a tow truck driver, and like the heroes of his favorite childhood television shows (The A-Team and The Incredible Hulk) he saw himself traveling the country, helping people in trouble and getting into wacky adventures. He still harbors that dream.
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