People are often very surprised when I mention that we have Bluebirds here in South Florida. But yes, the Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis) is here in western Martin County. This attractive little bird, with its bright blue back and rusty-colored breast has made a home around the sprawling open land in this area.
Unfortunately, only a few people have ever seen a Bluebird in Florida. It is estimated that in the past 60 years, the population has been reduced by 90-percent. The decline is due to lack of natural nesting areas, increased pesticide use and competition with the House Sparrow and European Starling.
To help in the Bluebird's recovery, Audubon of Martin County became a charter member of the Florida Bluebird Society.
Through the courtesy of the South Florida Water Management District, we have installed Bluebird nest boxes in the Allapattah Flats Wildlife Management area.
Eastern Bluebirds are primarily insectivores. Insects make up about 68-percent of their diet, with the remainder comprised of fruits, such as holly and blueberries. Their natural habitat is open pinelands, woodland edges, and prairies. They have, however, also adapted to some rural suburban land, such as pastures, fields that are mowed, golf courses and highway rights-of-way. They can frequently be seen perched on telephone wires or fences near their habitat.
What can you do? First, limit your pesticide use. Insecticides reduce the Bluebirds' food supply. Second, build and install Bluebird nest boxes in suitable habitats to compensate for the loss of natural nesting holes. Audubon of Martin County has several plans available, from very simple to deluxe. We can also advise you on the best places to install them. Call our office for more information.