How to Attract Bluebirds to Feeder (The Secrets to Success)

Want to know how to attract bluebirds?

Bluebirds will only come to your yard if you give them foods they like, spots to nest, and plenty of water to drink and bathe in.

Plus, there are other crucial factors to consider, like protecting them from predators, all of which we’re diving into in this article.

Key Takeaways

  • Offer appropriate food options, such as insects and mealworms, to attract bluebirds to feeders.
  • Provide clean water sources for both drinking and bathing purposes.
  • Create a bluebird-friendly habitat with native plants, nest boxes, and protection from predators and harsh weather.

How to Attract Bluebirds to Feeder

eastern bluebird flying with a bug in its beak

Providing the right types of food and bird feeders can help attract bluebirds to your backyard.

In this section, we’ll explore the best choices for bluebird feeding to ensure these vibrant birds become regular visitors.

Read Next: How to Attract Bluebirds to Mealworms

Give Them the Right Types of Food

As wild birds, bluebirds primarily feed on insects, snails, worms, and other invertebrates, especially during the warmer months. However, they’ll also consume fruits and berries when insects are scarce, such as in the late fall and winter.

Here are the best bluebird foods to feed them if you want to attract them:

  • Mealworms
  • Suet
  • Peanut butter (crunchy)
  • Currants
  • Berries (blackberries, blueberries, and cranberries, for example)
  • Softened raisins
  • Sunflower hearts
  • Homemade cornmeal muffins

Instead of the usual bird seeds that many people provide, use mealworms and suet nuggets to attract bluebirds to your feeder.

Mealworms are a primary source of food for them, so they should be part of your backyard setup for these birds. Dried mealworms and suet cakes can be found in most pet stores or online.

Besides mealworms and suet, giving bluebirds foods like berries and dried fruits that have been rehydrated is a great way to entice them. Just be sure to soak dried fruits like currants and raisins to soften them first.

Did you know you can also give bluebirds cornmeal muffins? You can mix different ingredients in, like lard, berries, or crunchy peanut butter for some variations.

If you want a recipe, try this easy one.

What Type of Feeder Is Best for Bluebirds?

two bluebirds sitting on a mealworm feeder

Getting the right bird feeders for bluebirds is pretty crucial in attracting bluebirds.

The number one feeder you should have for a bluebird is a hanging mealworm feeder, since mealworms are these birds’ favorite snacks. 

You can put live mealworms in a hanging mealworm bird feeder with tall enough sides that will keep them contained. Dried mealworms can go in too, or you can put them in a hopper-style bird feeder.

Other than mealworm feeders, your best options are:

  • Caged bluebird feeder
  • Domed bluebird feeder
  • Window bird feeders
  • Platform bird feeders
  • Oriole bird feeders
  • Suet feeders

These are all suitable options for bluebirds because they cater to their preferred food sources, including mealworms and fruit.

Looking for feeders specifically designed for bluebirds like caged feeders is a good idea to prevent squirrels from climbing bird feeder poles and larger birds from accessing the food.

Domed bluebird feeders are also a good choice, as they can hold a large amount of mealworms or suet nuggets and protect them from rain.

Feeding Tips

Here are some tips to ensure your bird feeding efforts are successful in attracting bluebirds:

  • Keep your feeders clean by regularly disassembling and cleaning them to prevent mold and bacteria buildup.
  • Location is key. Try placing the feeders close to a tree or shrub for cover, but away from dense foliage that may hide predators. Pick a relatively open area that gives these little birds a decent line of sight.
  • Use live mealworms when possible, as their movement tends to attract bluebirds more effectively than dried mealworms.
  • Bluebirds may not be as attracted to sunflower seeds and other common bird seeds, so focus on providing mealworms, fruit, and suet as their primary food sources.

If you’re carefully considering the types of food, bird feeders, and feeding tips discussed above, you’ll create an attractive environment for bluebirds to thrive and enjoy in your backyard.

Provide Plenty of Water for Bluebirds

bluebird bathing in a bird bath


One of the most important factors in attracting bluebirds to your feeder is ensuring that they have access to clean water.

  • A simple and popular option is to have a birdbath in your yard. Bluebirds are attracted to shallow water sources where they can easily bathe and drink.
  • To maintain a clean and fresh water source, change the water in your birdbath regularly, ideally every other day.
  • During colder months, consider using a heated bird bath to prevent the water from freezing.
  • Adding rocks or pebbles to the bottom of the birdbath can provide safer footing for the birds, as well as enhance the overall aesthetic.


Another way to provide water for bluebirds is by installing a fountain.

  • Bluebirds are particularly fond of moving water, making a fountain a perfect choice to attract them.
  • The sound of flowing water can also help draw bluebirds to your yard, as it mimics natural running water sources they might find in the wild.
  • Fountains come in various sizes, styles, and materials, so you can choose one that complements the overall theme of your garden.
  • Be sure to clean your fountain regularly, removing fallen leaves and keeping the water clean.

Creating Bluebird-Friendly Habitats

If you want to attract bluebirds to your feeder, you’ll need to create a bluebird-friendly habitat that meets their specific needs.

Working on three key areas can help you create the perfect environment for these beautiful backyard birds: Nesting Sites, Shelter, and Ground Cover.

Nesting Sites

Providing nesting sites with proper birdhouses is crucial for attracting Eastern bluebirds and Mountain bluebirds, as they are cavity-nesting birds.

  • Bluebird houses or nest boxes should be placed at least 5 to 10 feet above the ground to keep them safe from predators.
  • You can also make your backyard more appealing to these birds by preserving dead trees or snags, which serve as natural nesting sites for cavity nesters.
  • Remember to space bluebird houses at least 100 yards apart since they are territorial.


Shelter is another critical factor in creating a bluebird-friendly habitat. Bluebirds are attracted to areas with a mix of trees and open space.

  • To provide adequate shelter for bluebirds, plant native shrubs and trees that can serve as both perching spots and safety from predators.
  • Eastern bluebirds prefer areas with short grass, while Mountain bluebirds thrive in habitats with scattered trees and brush.
  • Some suitable trees and shrubs are dogwoods, hawthorns, and cedars.

Ground Cover

Ground cover shouldn’t be underestimated for attracting bluebirds, as it provides a reliable food source in the form of insects, snails, and worms.

  • Lawn care plays a significant role in creating suitable ground cover for bluebirds.
  • Opt for a more natural lawn by avoiding overuse of pesticides, which can harm their food sources and the birds themselves.
  • Maintaining short grass and preserving open spaces also encourages ground-feeding birds to search for food in your backyard, increasing your chances of attracting bluebirds to your feeder.

Tips for Using Bluebird Roosting Boxes

mountain bluebird entering a bird house

One way to attract bluebirds to your yard is by providing them with roosting boxes. These boxes offer shelter and a place for bluebirds to rest during the colder months.

  • To create an inviting environment, fill the roosting box with materials like pine needles.
  • Ensure the entrance holes are the right size for bluebirds and have a predator guard to protect them from potential threats.
  • Choosing a roosting box made from a natural material like red cedar can also help make it more appealing to bluebirds.
  • Elevated perches can offer bluebirds a comfortable spot to rest and observe their surroundings. So make sure there are perches around the roosting area, whether human-made or natural, like tree branches or poles.
  • However, it may be wise to avoid putting perches directly on the nesting boxes, as this can give predators easier access to the nests and nestlings.

Planting for Bluebirds

One effective way to attract bluebirds to your yard is by creating a welcoming habitat with the right types of plants.

This section will cover the types of plants suitable for attracting bluebirds and recommend some specific berry bushes that bluebirds love.

Types of Plants

When it comes to choosing plants to attract bluebirds, focus on native species that provide food, shelter, and nesting opportunities. Bluebirds are primarily insectivores, so plant species that attract insects will be especially appealing.

Additionally, including native berry-producing bushes and trees can provide a valuable food source during colder months when insects are scarce.

Some common types of plants that are known to attract bluebirds include:

  • Sumac: This plant is a favorite among bluebirds because it provides both shelter and a food source. It attracts insects and produces berries in the fall.
  • Dogwood: This tree is another great option, as it offers shelter for bluebirds and produces berries they love.
  • Cedar: Known for its evergreen foliage, cedar trees provide excellent shelter for bluebirds, especially during harsh winters.

Recommended Berry Bushes

As well as the plants mentioned above, there are several types of berry bushes that are particularly attractive to bluebirds.

Including these bushes in your landscape design will help create a more bluebird-friendly environment:

  • Holly: Holly bushes produce berries that bluebirds enjoy. Moreover, their dense foliage provides shelter and nesting opportunities.
  • Juniper: Juniper trees and shrubs are another bluebird favorite. They provide ample shelter and produce berry-like cones as a food source.
  • Elderberry: Elderberry bushes not only produce berries that bluebirds enjoy but also attract insects, making them an ideal bluebird-friendly plant.
  • Berry bushes: Planting berry bushes such as blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries will provide both food and shelter for bluebirds.
  • Serviceberry: This native plant offers both shelter and a food source in the form of small, sweet berries bluebirds love.
  • Black cherry: This tree produces berries enjoyed by bluebirds and provides shelter and nesting opportunities.
  • Hackberries: These trees provide the perfect combination of insects, berries, and shelter for bluebirds.
  • Elderberries: Elderberries are popular with bluebirds, providing both food and shelter. Planting these bushes will help attract more bluebirds to your yard.

Planting a variety of native plants, including those mentioned above, will create a habitat that encourages bluebirds to visit and make their homes in your yard.

Select plants that provide both food and shelter to ensure that bluebirds have the resources they need to thrive.

Protecting Bluebirds and Their Environment

starling bird on a caged suet feeder

Predator Management

To ensure bluebirds can thrive in your yard, it’s important to address predator management.

  • House sparrows and European starlings often compete with bluebirds for nesting spaces. To deter these aggressive birds, monitor and remove any nests built by them in the bluebird boxes.
  • Encourage natural predators of house sparrows, like the American robin, to coexist nearby.
  • Limiting the presence of predators is important for success.
  • Cats and raccoons might prey on bluebirds, so make sure your nesting boxes are equipped with predator guards. These guards prevent climbing and reaching into the box, keeping the bluebirds safer.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Regular cleaning and maintenance of bluebird boxes is important for the health and happiness of your bluebird visitors.

Monitor the nest boxes every week to ensure cleanliness and to check for any issues. Also, clean the nest boxes thoroughly after the nesting season, removing any debris left behind by the birds.

Avoid using pesticides and insecticides around your yard, as they can be harmful to bluebirds. In any case, bluebirds and other thrushes primarily feed on insects and invertebrates, making them a natural (and powerful) form of pest control.

  • Use a mild soap and water solution to clean the inside and outside of the birdhouses.
  • Replace any damaged or worn out nesting materials.
  • Offer fresh, pesticide-free bird food to attract bluebirds and keep them nourished.

Bear in mind, attracting bluebirds takes time and patience. But by maintaining a safe environment and protecting them from potential threats, you can enjoy the presence of these beautiful birds in your yard.

Taking Beautiful Pictures of Bluebirds

Bluebirds are vibrant, charming creatures that capture the hearts of bird enthusiasts everywhere. They are visually stunning, with their bright blue feathers, accented by hues of red and white in different species.

One of the most captivating things about bluebirds is their striking blue plumage. This vibrant coloration is a prominent feature in both Eastern and Western Bluebirds, while the Mountain Bluebird showcases a more uniform, lighter sky-blue color.

These stunning shades of blue set bluebirds apart from other species, making them a favorite among photographers and bird lovers alike.

  • To capture beautiful pictures of bluebirds, timing and patience play crucial roles. Bluebirds are active during the daytime, often seen perching, flying, or feeding on insects and invertebrates. Position yourself near a bluebird feeder, and wait for them to come to you.
  • Paying attention to the background can also enhance your bluebird photographs. Choose a picturesque setting such as an open meadow, a branch with colorful flowers, or a lush green background that elevates and contrasts with the bluebird’s distinct color patterns. Cloudy, overcast days often provide softer, more even light, making it easier to capture a high-quality image without harsh shadows.
  • When photographing bluebirds, consider using a telephoto lens for close-up shots without disturbing the birds.
  • Additionally, understanding their behavior and patterns, such as their preference for open spaces with low grass and perching sites from which they can hunt insects, will help you anticipate and capture their graceful movements in your images.

Remember, the best bluebird pictures come from a blend of preparation, patience, and a keen eye for detail. With these elements in place, you’ll have no trouble capturing and sharing the enchanting beauty of these iconic birds with others.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of food do bluebirds prefer in feeders?

Bluebirds mainly feed on insects, snails, worms, and other invertebrates during the warmer months, so it’s important to provide foods that match their natural diet.

They may not be attracted to typical bird seeds like sunflower, safflower, or peanuts.

Offering mealworms is a great option to attract bluebirds to your feeder, as they are a popular food source for these birds ^.

How can I create a favorable habitat for bluebirds near my feeder?

To create a suitable habitat for bluebirds, choose an open area with low grass that offers perches for them to hunt insects.

Dead trees, or snag, are important nesting and roosting sites, so try to leave a few around your yard if possible ^.

Also, minimize the use of pesticides, as bluebirds depend on an insect-rich environment.

What is the ideal height for hanging a bluebird feeder?

Bluebird feeders should be hung at a height that is easily accessible for the birds and safe from potential predators. A height of 5 to 10 feet off the ground is generally recommended.

Additionally, placing the feeder near a tree or pole with a smooth surface can help deter squirrels and raccoons from attempting to reach the feeder ^.

Do bluebirds favor open or concealed spaces for feeders?

Bluebirds prefer open spaces that provide them with a clear view of their surroundings, as it helps them spot potential predators and other threats.

When placing your bluebird feeder, choose an open area where the birds have a good line of sight and feel safe coming to eat ^.

Can I use specific feeder colors to attract bluebirds?

Although there isn’t strong evidence supporting specific colors that attract bluebirds, it’s recommended to avoid brightly colored feeders, as they may attract unwanted attention from predators.

Instead, choose a feeder with natural or muted colors that blend well with the environment ^.

Should I provide a water source near the bluebird feeder?

Yes, providing a water source near the bluebird feeder, like a birdbath or water dish, can help make your backyard habitat even more attractive to bluebirds.

Birds need clean, fresh water for drinking and bathing. Ensuring that the water source is regularly maintained can substantially increase the chances of bluebirds visiting your yard ^.

Video on Building a DIY Bluebird Feeder

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