Creature Feature: Eastern Bluebird

By MDC | July 1, 2023
From Xplor: July/August 2023

Powerful Peepers

A bluebird can spot a tiny green caterpillar crawling through the grass from 60 feet away.

Grouchy Neighbors

Holes for nesting are often in short supply. Bluebirds chase chickadees, tree swallows, and other cavity-nesters away.

Menu Switcheroo

In the fall, bluebirds begin to eat fewer insects and more berries, like dogwood, wild grape, and even poison ivy.

Cavity Creatures

A bluebird’s beak isn’t sturdy enough to hammer out nest holes. So they reuse cavities created by woodpeckers or birdhouses built by people.

Caterpillar Patrol

Bluebirds usually hunt from a prominent perch. When they spot an insect on the ground, they flutter down and pounce on top of it.

Blunder Years

Young bluebirds don’t look like grown-ups. Their undersides are brown and speckled. The spots act as camouflage to help the youngsters hide from danger.

Also In This Issue

Snowberry clearwing moth hovering at a flower taking nectar

While their flashy, day-flying cousins, the butterflies, seem to get all the glory, Missouri’s moths are just as amazing.

Photo of indigo milky, bluish gilled mushroom, with cuts bleeding blue sap

Nature comes in all sizes, shapes, and colors. To celebrate Independence Day, we picked a few of Missouri’s most patriotic plants and animals. Can you figure out what they are using the clues?

This Issue's Staff

Photographer – Noppadol Paothong
Photographer – David Stonner
Designer – Marci Porter
Designer – Les Fortenberry
Art Director – Cliff White
Editor – Matt Seek
Magazine Manager – Stephanie Thurber