The Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis) is a small thrush found in open woodlands, farmlands and orchards, and most recently can be spotted in suburban areas. It is the state bird of Missouri and New York. This species measures 16–21 cm (6.3–8.3 in) long, span 25–32 cm (9.8–13 in) across the wings and weigh 27–34 g (0.95–1.2 oz). Adult males are bright blue on top and have a reddish brown throat and breast. Adult females have lighter blue wings and tail, a brownish throat and breast and a grey crown and back. Eastern Bluebirds are found east of the Rockies, southern Canada to the Gulf States and southeastern Arizona to Nicaragua. The bright blue breeding plumage of the male, easily observed on a wire or open perch, fluttering down to the mowed grass to capture a grasshopper, cricket or beetle makes this species a favorite of birders. The male’s call includes sometimes soft warbles of jeew or chir-wi or the melodious song chiti WEEW wewidoo. Approximately two-thirds of the diet of an adult eastern bluebird consists of insects and other invertebrates. The remainder of the bird’s diet is made up of wild fruits. Favored insect foods include grasshoppers, crickets, katydids, and beetles. Other food items include earthworms, spiders, millipedes, centipedes, sow bugs and snails. Fruits are especially important when insects are scarce in the winter months. Some preferred winter food sources include dogwood, hawthorn, wild grape, and sumac, and hackberry seeds. Supplemental fruits eaten include black raspberries, bayberries, fruit of honeysuckle, Virginia creeper, Eastern Juniper, and pokeberries. Bluebirds feed by perching on a high point, such as a branch or fence post, and swooping down to catch insects on or near the ground. The availability of a winter food source will often determine whether or not a bird will migrate. If bluebirds do remain in a region for the winter, they will group and seek cover in heavy thickets, orchards, or other areas in which adequate food and cover resources are available.
American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis)
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The American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis), also known as the Eastern Goldfinch, is a small North American bird in the finch family. It is migratory, ranging from mid-Alberta to North Carolina during the breeding season, and from just south of the Canadian border to Mexico during the winter. The only finch in its subfamily that undergoes a complete molt, the American Goldfinch displays sexual dimorphism in its coloration; the male is a vibrant yellow in the summer and an olive color during the winter months, while the female is a dull yellow-brown shade which brightens only slightly during the summer. The male displays brightly colored plumage during the breeding season to attract a mate.
The American Goldfinch is a granivore and adapted for the consumption of seedheads, with a conical beak to remove the seeds and agile feet to grip the stems of seedheads while feeding. It is a social bird, and will gather in large flocks while feeding and migrating. It may behave territorially during nest construction, but this aggression is short-lived. Its breeding season is tied to the peak of food supply, beginning in late July, which is relatively late in the year for a finch. This species is generallymonogamous, and produces one brood each year. Human activity has generally benefited the American Goldfinch. It is often found in residential areas, attracted to bird feeders which increase its survival rate in these areas. Deforestation also creates open meadow areas which are its preferred habitat.