Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Bluebirds in Texas… and didn‛t know to ask copyright, 2003, TexasBluebirdSocietyTexas is one of the few states where all three species of bluebirds can be observed in the same area at the same time. There are many areas in Texas with appropriate habitat for bluebirds where the birds are not seen – yet! During winter months Mountain Bluebirds that have spent the summer nesting in more northern states and Canada flock to Texas to spend the winter with their close cousins the Western and Eastern Bluebirds. These two species (which carry and "wave" the colors of our flags) are year-round residents of Texas. temperatures the birds’ main winter diet consists of juniper berries and the fruit from the parasitic plant of the mistletoe that festoons the branches of mesquite and oaks in this part of the state. During mild temperatures a steady supply of insects are available throughout Texas. Natural food supplies vary from year to year and migration and wintering patterns of the bluebirds vary according to food availability. Loose flocks of 25-75 individuals are commonly reported and upwards of 500 have been seen in some areas with all three species occasionally seen in the same flock! Normally smaller family groups from the previous year are seen during winter months in or near their breeding area. All three species are occasionally found far from their normal breeding or wintering range. Reporting these sightings to the TexasBluebirdSociety (firstname.lastname@example.org) will increase our knowledge of their constantly changing population trends. EXPLANATION OF TERMS & SPELLING photo by Bill Horn Just as their names suggest the Eastern Bluebird is commonly found nesting in the eastern twothirds of Texas. The less common Western Bluebird nests in the western half of the state while the Mountain Bluebirds occasionally winter from the Edwards Plateau in the east to the Davis and Guadalupe mountains to the west and north into the panhandle of Texas. West Texas offers these birds ideal weather and habitat during the winter months! During frigid While in most cases, the English language does not capitalize animal and plant names, not categorizing them as proper names, the TexasBluebirdSociety has decided to follow the nomenclature used by the American Ornithological Union – the group that assigns names to birds. Since they capitalize both first and second word, we do the same. Similarly, we have chosen to use the term “nestbox” to describe what many call a “birdhouse”. Cavity-nesting birds use these structures, with rare exceptions, to hold their nests.