In my Arkansas yard, I recently had the opportunity to capture an Eastern Bluebird with a Caterpillar in my lens. Earlier in June, I had shared my plans to replace a nesting box for the Bluebirds and reorient it. If you’re interested in the details, I wrote about it in a blog post titled “Eastern Bluebird At Nest Box Entrance.”

Eastern Bluebird with Caterpillar
An Eastern Bluebird with a Caterpillar for its young.

However, when I went out to inspect the box, I discovered Bluebird babies that had already hatched in a newly built nest. Luckily, my pickup was parked nearby, and I’ve found that it doesn’t disturb the birds when I use it as a photography vantage point. I grabbed my trusty Fujifilm X-T3 Camera with a Canon EF 100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II lens attached using a Fringer EF-FX Pro, and before long, a male Bluebird flew in with a Caterpillar to feed its young.

These baby Bluebirds are still quite small, and their parents have to go inside the nesting box to feed them. But soon enough, the little ones will be poking their heads out for sustenance. If you’re interested in my photography setup for Eastern Bluebirds, check out “My Eastern Bluebird Photography Setup.”

As a side note, I’ve learned that these nesting boxes should be light-colored and placed in shady areas to prevent overheating. Although mine has darkened with age, it’s situated under a cedar tree for shade. And if you want to see another one of my posts featuring an Eastern Bluebird feeding its young, check out “Eastern Bluebird With Large Spider.”

To capture this shot, I had my camera and lens resting on a bean bag draped over the open window of my pickup. I shot in aperture priority mode (AV), with a shutter speed of 1/140 of a second at f5.6, and the ISO set to 800. I left the White Balance on auto, and voila – I got the shot!

Here are some unique and interesting facts about Eastern Bluebirds:

    1. Eastern Bluebirds are one of the few bird species that often create their nests in cavities, such as abandoned woodpecker holes or nesting boxes. They are also known to take over old nests built by other birds, such as swallows.

    2. Eastern Bluebirds are insectivores and primarily feed on insects like beetles, grasshoppers, and caterpillars. They are also known to eat small fruits, such as wild berries.

    3. The male Eastern Bluebird has a unique way of attracting a mate – he will choose a nesting site and then collect and present nesting material to any female that enters the area. If a female is interested, she will help build the nest and lay her eggs.

    4. Eastern Bluebirds are a popular bird to attract to your backyard with nesting boxes. However, they are also at risk of predation from snakes, raccoons, and house cats. To help protect them, you can install predator guards on your nesting boxes.

    5. In the past, Eastern Bluebirds were in decline due to habitat loss and competition with non-native bird species, such as House Sparrows and European Starlings. However, conservation efforts, such as the installation of nesting boxes and the eradication of non-native species, have helped to increase their populations in recent years.