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Wildlife Spotlight: Western Bluebird

PictureWestern bluebird

The Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks are home to a variety of wildlife all year long, but during the fall and winter months, you might notice a few additional visitors to our local habitats. As the weather starts to cool, you will often find a variety of bird species who consider the Landmarks their winter home.
 
Visitors to the Landmarks can spot the western bluebird, a fairly small species with a charming personality. These small, colorful birds are named for their distinctive blue plumage and can be found in oak woodlands and parks. Male western bluebirds usually have blue coloring on top with orange accents on their chest, while females have mostly gray coloring with orange and blue tints on the chest, wings and tail. The combination of colors distinguishes western bluebirds from eastern bluebirds, which have an orange throat, and mountain bluebirds, which do not have any orange coloring.

Western bluebirds are known to be cavity nesters, which means they build nests in a small enclosed area, such as a hole in a tree or a nearby bird house. These birds are highly social and can often be seen migrating, feeding and bathing in small flocks. Western bluebirds mostly feed on fresh berries and insects, perching themselves low enough to easily catch any grasshoppers, caterpillars, beetles, and other insects that can be found on the ground.
 
These colorful birds may be seen flying overhead or perched on fences and tree branches throughout the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks. Next time you are out on the trails, keep an eye out for western bluebirds! To learn more about wildlife on the Landmarks, visit IRConservancy.org.