Dean M. Chriss
Blue on Green, Mountain Bluebird
(Click image to enlarge)
This male mountain bluebird perches on a
fallen tree on a bright spring day. Its nest is nearby in another fallen log where newly hatched chicks wait
for dinner. Both parents flew to and from the nest almost constantly to satisfy
the appetite of the young ones.
Mountain bluebirds measure about six inches from head to tail. They live at elevations above 5000 feet in mountainous regions of western Canada and the United States. These bluebirds prefer open grassy meadows with nearby trees for nesting and perching. Their diet consists mostly of insects. Because they nest in tree cavities, nests are most often found in dead trees or snags. The mountain bluebird population is declining due to loss of natural nesting cavities caused by the removal of dead trees and snags, increased competition from non-native bird species, and reduction of insect populations from pesticide use.