About The Mountain Bluebird
Mountain Bluebirds (Sialia currucoides), unlike other bluebird species have no chestnut red on their bodies and are characterized by an overall blue wash. The sexes are distinguished by the difference in hue with the male bluebirds having a more striking sky-blue color and the females more grayish blue in color, especially on the wings and tail. In addition to this female mountain bluebirds have a white eye-ring and sometime even a very light chestnut brown hue on their throats and breasts. Juvenile mountain bluebirds pretty much look like the adults except that they are generally darker and not as colorful. The breasts and sides of juvenile mountain bluebirds are also streaked with brown.
Aside from the bluer hue, the Mountain Bluebird also differs from the other bluebird species in size. It is longer than the other species with an average length ranging from 6.5 – 7.25 inches. Its bill is also thinner and longer as are the wings, tail and legs.
The range of Mountain bluebirds is mainly limited to the western part of the United States. They are often found in open areas with some trees during breeding season but stay mostly in more barren terrains during winter.
Due to their beautiful plumage and strangely interesting feeding behavior, Mountain bluebirds are a favorite among birders. This is fortunate since their popularity causes people to build nest boxes for the mountain bluebirds, which is something they sorely need to help fight the decline in their population.
Female mountain bluebirds lay their eggs between April and May, laying an egg one each day until the clutch is complete. The usual clutch size is 5-6 eggs although a clutch size as big as 8 eggs have been reported. Mountain bluebird eggs are pretty just like the birds with a smooth, glossy pale blue color. There are instances of white eggs being laid but that is rare. An interesting thing about the eggs of mountain bluebirds is that all the eggs in each clutch are always of the same color. An egg of a different color in the same nest simply means that an egg laid by a different female bird was left there in a behavior called egg dumping. Eggs are incubated for about 13 to 14 days before they hatch. Upon hatching the female broods the newly hatched birds for about a week while the male does most of the feeding. As the young birds grow the male takes over the care of the young birds while the female bird starts to re-nest in preparation for the second brood. It takes about 3 to 4 weeks for the young mountain bluebirds to become independent.