Bluebirds are insectivores. Voracious ones…

Female bluebird with a large fly or wasp.  Photograph by Neil Paprocki.

Predatory female bluebird with insect prey. Photograph by Neil Paprocki.

This is one of the reasons they and other bird species are so vital to our ecosystems: they help keep insect populations under wraps. Without them, insect pests would surely multiply in numbers beyond our control. While it is true that insects also serve a vital role in our ecosystems, too much of anything is a bad thing. Just look at how 7 billion humans are treating the earth…

Male bluebird with a caterpillar in tow.  Photograph by Neil Paprocki.

Male bluebird with a caterpillar in tow. Photograph by Neil Paprocki.

Insects come in all shapes and sizes, emerging in vast numbers when temperatures rise every spring. Bluebirds time this huge boom in springtime productivity to precisely when they are raising their first batch of nestlings. Think the cacophony of Cicadas this year are annoying? That is the sweet sweet sound of buffet music to a bluebird’s ears!

How exactly is that Cicada going to fit in a nestlings mouth?  Photograph by Neil Paprocki

How exactly is that Cicada going to fit into a nestlings mouth? Photograph by Neil Paprocki

Caterpillars, cicadas, crickets, grasshoppers, flies, wasps, beetles, bugs. You name it, they pretty much eat it. Wouldn’t you if you had 4, or 5, or 6 (!) hungry mouths to feed?

Mame bluebird with a few different insects in her beak.  Photograph by Neil Paprocki.

Mama bluebird with a few different insects in her beak. Photograph by Neil Paprocki.

So thank you bluebirds. Thank you for keeping those grasshoppers and caterpillars from destroying our crops. Thank you for keeping away those pesky flies. And most of all, thank you for keeping those darn Cicadas quiet!

Cicada? Yes.  Photograph by Neil Paprocki.

Cicada? Yes. Photograph by Neil Paprocki.

 






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