Las Pilitas Nursery

California Native Plants are all we grow!

Blog Contact Us Directions

3232 Las Pilitas Rd
Santa Margarita, CA 93453

Shop For Plants Cart Contents

This website is dedicated to Bert Wilson. His genius continues to inspire us.

Western Bluebird, Sialia mexicana

The Western Bluebird is a delicate little bird with a charming personality. It has the characteristic eye ring and rufus breast of the thrush family. It is not as bold as an American Robin. It has a temperament similar to that of the Hermit thrush, but occasionally gets irritated by other birds. Niche filled by the Western Bluebird

The Western Bluebird is a secondary cavity nester that feeds on many common garden insect pests. Migration of the Western Bluebird

The Western Bluebird moves out of the Higher elevations in the winter. Some move into the southwestern desert and northern central

The Western Bluebird is a secondary cavity nester. That is, it uses a nest that was excavated by another bird in a previous season. This is usually an old woodpecker cavity. However, they will also use a bird house. The Western bluebird like the Eastern Bluebird is forced out of many nesting areas by the European Starling. The European starling is a very aggressive secondary cavity nester. It will even push baby birds of other species out of their nest and take the nest for themselves.

Three Western Bluebirds, and a female Western Tanager enjoying breakfast in a Mahonia nevinii. This Barberry is very slow, but the wildlife will show up as soon as the first flower or berry shows up in the garden. - grid24_12
The male Western Bluebird has a brown belly and blue feathers. Here they are on their favorite plant, Nevin's Barberry.
Western Bluebird, Sialia mexicana,  eating Black Chokecherries - grid24_12
Western Blue Birds like Black Chokecherry
Baby Western Bluebirds in their nest. - grid24_6
Young Western Bluebirds in one of the nest boxes. (They were fine, the box needed the side screw tightened.)
Western Bluebirds at the birdbath - grid24_12
When the . birdbath fails there is a riot
A Female Western Bluebird. - grid24_12
A female Western Bluebird.
Male Western Blue Bird  at bird house feeding young. - grid24_12
A family of Bluebirds enjoying one of our homemade birdhouses
Western Bluebird on Cokecherry - grid24_12
A male Western Bluebird on a Western Chokecherry

Diet of Western Bluebirds

The Western Bluebird eats insects, earthworms, snails, Poison oak berries, and other small berries and fruits. In our garden the Western Bluebirds eat Elderberries, Mahonia nevinii, Black Chokecherry, Western Chokecherry, Southern California Grape, Redberry  and Toyon.  The Bluebirds tell one and another, sometimes 20-30 birds are in one bush at a time.

Planting bushes with berries also helps attract the Western Bluebird to your garden. Their favorite plant in our garden is Mahonia nevinii. This is a prickly shrub that grows up to about 5 ft tall. It has yellowish berries that turn red as they ripen. It is evergreen and quite attractive.

Vitus gridiana with Western Bluebirds - grid24_12
Western Bluebirds having brunch on a bunch of Desert Grapes

How to attract the Western Bluebird to your garden

The Western Bluebird often will occupy an area because of its availability of nest sites. Building a nest box in your garden will greatly enhance your chances of attracting these birds. If you build your nest box with a smaller entrance hole, the European starlings will not take them.

Habitat/Plant communities used by the Western Bluebird

The Western Bluebird prefers open woodlands with water available. They use oak woodlands as well as coniferous forests and riparian woodlands.

Rivers and Creeks

Central oak woodland

Northern Oak woodland

Southern oak Woodland

Range of the Western Bluebird

The Western Bluebird is found in most of California except in the deserts and the south central valley in summer.

The Western Bluebird also enjoys using the bird bath. They will drink as well as bath in it.

Learn more about California's flora from our front page.

Return to Bird page

Check out the butterflies

Western Bluebirds up in a Valley Oak Tree. - grid24_12
A Blue sky with Bluebirds.

A male western blue bird taking a bath at a Las Pilitas bird bath

Every Year our Mahonia Nevinii bushes are feasted on by a lot of Western Bluebirds. I thought I'd share them with you. The background noise is the cooler.

Western Bluebirds love Mahonia nevinii and since we have one next to the front door.