Eastern Bluebird

Sialia sialis



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Figure 1. Distribution of the Eastern Bluebird.

Small numbers winter north to the Great Lakes.

Figure 2. Foraging methods of Eastern Bluebirds in Clemson, SC, 1996.

Samples based on focal individual samples during egg-laying stage of nest cycles throughout breeding season.

Figure 3. Eastern Bluebird vocalizations.

A. Loud Song (Borror Laboratory of Bioacoustics no. 17107; recorded in Franklin Co., OH, 3 Mar 1989). B. Predator (Alarm) Song (Library of Natural Sounds, Cornell University, no. 44105; recorded by Randolf Scott Little at Hilton Head I., SC, 18 Mar 1979). C. Tu-a-wees of adult males given at nesting box (from Sylvia Halkin and PAG, Oglethorpe Co., GA, 26 Jun and 6 Jul 1993). D. Tu-a-wees of adult females given at nesting box (from Sylvia Halkin and PAG, Oglethorpe Co., GA 9 and 18 Jul 1993). Sonograms prepared by staff of Borror Laboratory of Bioacoustics, Ohio State University, using a Kay Elemetrics DSP 5500 Sona-Graph (with an effective frequency resolution of 600 Hz and a 100 pt. transform size).

Figure 4. Nest Demonstration Display of Eastern Bluebird males.

A. Holding nesting material at entrance to a cavity, with drooped wings and spread tail.B. Looking around. C. Looking in entrance.D. Beginning to rock (see text). E. Showing face with nesting material. F. Wing-waving display. Drawing by J. Zickefoose, redrawn from Krieg 1971.

Figure 5. Eastern Bluebird annual cycle.

Annual cycle of breeding, molt, and migration of the Eastern Bluebird. Breeding shown for population in nw. South Carolina. Molt shown for population in Michigan. Thick lines show peak activity; thin lines, off-peak.

Figure 6. Timing of egg-laying in different populations.

Distribution of first-egg dates in Florida (A), Tennessee (B), Pennsylvania (C), and S. Carolina (D), showing that Eastern Bluebird is double-brooded throughout most of its breeding range, with tendencies toward triple-broodedness in central portions of range (B and D). A, B, and C, from Peakall 1970; D from Gowaty 1980.

Figure 7. Linear and mass measurements of adult Eastern Bluebirds, S. Carolina.

Linear and mass measurements for adults in Clemson, SC, and Athens, GA (PAG). Sample sizes in Clemson: ASY (individuals at least 1 yr past their second year) females = 81, SY (indiv-iduals breeding in year after they hatched [9–12 mo]) females = 218; ASY males = 101, SY males = 123. Sample sizes in Athens: ASY females = 16, SY females = 19; ASY males = 26, SY males = 4.

Figure 8. Illustration of the nest and eggs of the Eastern Bluebird.

Taken from the Illustrations of the Nests and Eggs of Ohio, 1879-1886. Drawings by Miss Genevieve Estelle Jones, Mrs. N. E. Jones and Miss Eliza J. Schultz.

Figure 9. Relative abundance of the Eastern Bluebird during the breeding season, based on BBS data.

Based on data from the Breeding Bird Survey, 2007-2011. From Sauer et al. 2014, see text for details.

Figure 10. Regional trends in Eastern Bluebird populations, 1966-2011; data from the Breeding Bird Survey.

Data show best estimates of population change for the species over its range; from Sauer et al. 2014, which provides details.

Figure 11. Early winter density of the Eastern Bluebird, as determined by data from the Christmas Bird Count (CBC), 1980-2006.

Numbers show the number of individuals counted per 100 party hours in each region with CBC count circles.

Figure 12. Diversity of Eastern Bluebird songs.

The diversity of songs among 3 of 5 sampled males. The mean number of song types among these males ranged from 40 to 81 of which 64% were low volume; 15% moderate volume; and 21.5% high volume.

Recommended Citation

Gowaty, P. A. and J. H. Plissner (2015). Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (A. F. Poole, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bna.381