The Western Bluebird is one of my favorite birds.

Years ago I was out taking photos when I found this small colorful bird. So I took its photo.

When I was home, looking at my photos from that day, I thought, “Wow, this is beautiful. I want to take more photos of birds”.

And thus began my pursuit of bird photography. Since then I’ve taken hundreds of thousands of photos of birds.

This article is a photo tribute to the Western Bluebird.

I say “Thank you,” every time I see one.


Meet the Western Bluebird


Western Bluebird, Male, WEBL, SIAMEX, Passeriformes, Turdidae, Sialia, S. mexicana, Scalia mexicana, (c) Photo by Steve Kaye

Western Bluebird, Male


Western Bluebird, Female, WEBL, SIAMEX, Passeriformes, Turdidae, Sialia, S. mexicana, Scalia mexicana, (c) Photo by Steve Kaye

Western Bluebird, Female


Western Bluebird, Juvenile, WEBL, SIAMEX, Passeriformes, Turdidae, Sialia, S. mexicana, Scalia mexicana, (c) Photo by Steve Kaye

Western Bluebird, Juvenile


Western Bluebirds are cavity nesters.


Normally, they would use a cavity that had formed from decay in an old tree or that had been made by woodpeckers.

There are two important points here.

First, old trees are necessary for bluebird survival because their decay results in cavities.

Second, woodpeckers are necessary for bluebird survival because they make cavities that bluebirds use for their nests. And woodpeckers prefer old trees because soft rotted wood requires less work to make a hole.

So there must be old trees for bluebirds to build nests.

The Cavity Conservation Initiative is working to preserve old trees. Learn more about them at: The Cavity Conservation Initiative


Western Bluebird, Female, at Tree Cavity, (c) Photo by Steve Kaye

Western Bluebird, Female, at Tree Cavity


Western Bluebird, Female, at Tree Cavity, (c) Photo by Steve Kaye

Western Bluebird, Female, at Tree Cavity With Nest Material


But urban development in Southern California has removed almost all the old, dead trees.

In turn, a few decades ago, there were almost no Western Bluebirds.

Then Good News!

The Southern California Bluebird Club was formed. (Click on their name to learn more about this amazing organization.)

Since 2006 members of this club have built, set up, and maintained nest boxes throughout Southern California.

This effort has brought Western Bluebirds back.

This is an example of how an organized effort of dedicated volunteers can make a difference in preserving nature.

Now, everyone in Southern California can see these beautiful birds.


Western Bluebird, Female (Left) and Male (Right) on Nest Box, (c) Photo by Steve Kaye

Western Bluebird, Female (Left) and Male (Right) on Nest Box


 Learn More about Bluebirds


If would like to learn about bluebirds in your area, visit the web site for the North American Bluebird Society. (Click on the name to go to their web page.)

This organization supports bluebirds (Western Bluebirds, Eastern Bluebirds, and Mountain Bluebirds) in North America.

The members are wonderful bird enthusiasts. I met them at their 2012 National Convention, which was held in Southern California. I’ll add that it was an honor that they asked me to show my photos during their convention.


Photos of Western Bluebirds


Western Bluebird, Female gathering nest material, WEBL, SIAMEX, Passeriformes, Turdidae, Sialia, S. mexicana, Scalia mexicana, (c) Photo by Steve Kaye

Western Bluebird, Female, gathering nest material


Western Bluebird, Male eating a berry, WEBL, SIAMEX, Passeriformes, Turdidae, Sialia, S. mexicana, Scalia mexicana, (c) Photo by Steve Kaye

Western Bluebird, Male Eating a Berry


Western Bluebird, Female eating a berry, WEBL, SIAMEX, Passeriformes, Turdidae, Sialia, S. mexicana, Scalia mexicana, (c) Photo by Steve Kaye

Western Bluebird, Female Eating a Berry


How to Help Western Bluebirds


Western Bluebirds need three necessities.

1) Home

They need old, dead trees to build nests.

You can help by: Minimizing tree trimming. If practical, leave old (dead) trees alone. Otherwise, just cut off branches that pose a hazard leaving the trunk plus major branches intact.

If possible, plant a dead tree on your land. (Yes, I realize this sounds outrageous. But I know a wildlife refuge manager who did that – He had a dead tree planted in the middle of a field so that birds could perch on it. Now, you’ll often see a Bald Eagle on that tree.)

2) Food

Western Bluebirds eat bugs and worms that they find on the ground, especially in grassy areas.

You can help by: Avoiding the use of insecticides or other lawn chemicals.

Lawn chemicals kill the bugs that bluebirds depend upon for food. They also make birds sick.

These chemicals are especially bad because once applied, no one knows there are there. So children, pets, and others collect them on their clothing or skin.

3) Water

Every creature needs fresh water to survive.

You can help by: Avoiding use of herbicides, pesticides, and other lawn chemicals.

These chemicals remain on fences, rocks, sidewalks, and other solid surfaces. Then rain washes them into sewers, which drain into rivers or lakes.

As a result, these chemicals contaminate water that people need for agriculture and fresh water.


Bonus: When you help bluebirds, you help yourself.

You save the cost of chemicals plus the time needed to apply them. You also leave a healthy lawn that children, pets, and other birds can use without becoming sick.

Note: If your children (or pets) develop a strange illnesses, take them to a doctor to check for exposure to chemicals that might be in your neighborhood.

In addition, if you can convince your community to spend less on tree trimming and chemicals, you’ll reduce taxes plus create a more healthy environment for everyone.


Western Bluebird, Male, WEBL, SIAMEX, Passeriformes, Turdidae, Sialia, S. mexicana, Scalia mexicana, (c) Photo by Steve Kaye

Western Bluebird, Male


Western Bluebird, Female, WEBL, SIAMEX, Passeriformes, Turdidae, Sialia, S. mexicana, Scalia mexicana, (c) Photo by Steve Kaye

Western Bluebird, Female


Thank you to everyone who has worked to protect and preserve these beautiful birds.