Pine forests and woodlands over summer, deserts and pinyon-juniper forests in winter
Throughout Mexico and the western, southwestern, and mountain states of the U.S.
Least Concern (IUCN Red List)
This species is
to the Truckee Meadows.
Male western bluebirds are bright blue but differ from other bluebirds like mountain bluebirds due to the rusty color on western bluebirds’ upper chests. The rust color is seen in both sexes, although female Western bluebirds do not have the bright blue color on the upper parts of their bodies. The female has a paler rust/orange on the upper chest. Western bluebirds only weigh about an ounce. When seeking sites for a nest, both sexes look for an existing cavity, most of the time located in a tree. Females line the cavity with nesting material like grasses and fur from other animals.
Sometimes it is a group effort to raise a young family of western bluebirds. At nesting time there can be other adults, male and female, who are observed to help to care for a brood of baby Western bluebirds.
Females lay 2 to 8 eggs and there will be 1 to 3 broods each season. Couples will appear to be monogamous but research has shown in up to 45 percent of nests, there may be one or more young birds in the nest that may not be the offspring of the male who inhabits the nest.
In the spring and summer month,s western bluebirds avoid the hotter and drier regions in their range, and will live and breed in partially open areas of pine forests and other woodlands where they can hunt various insects close to and on the ground. During the winter months Western bluebirds live in deserts and pinyon juniper forests where they seek out berries. Western bluebirds will readily find nest boxes 1, 2 but they have to be built properly for these small birds. The All About Birds and Audubon websites can help birders build the correct size bird house.
Here in the Truckee Meadows, western bluebirds are seen in the foothill parks, like Caughlin Ranch and Galena Creek Park, on the western side of the Truckee Meadows where there are a combination of trees and open areas.
Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Western Bluebird Overview, All About Birds, https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Western_Bluebird/overview
Audubon Society, Western Bluebird, Audubon Field Guide, https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/western-bluebird
IUCN Red List, Western Bluebird, assessed 2016, site 2021, https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/22708553/94164843
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