Sunday, June 1, 2014

Western Bluebird (Sialia Mexicana) at Huntington Central Park

The Western Bluebird, as the name implies, is a western bird. Its range is from British Columbia south to Central Mexico. It goes no farther east than western Texas and western Montana. It is the least migratory bluebird, moving from upper to lower altitudes more than moving from north to south during the winter. So you might see Western Bluebirds up in Crestline or Arrowhead in the spring or summer, but more likely would see them at lower levels in the winter. If you are looking for a blue bird with an orange chest in Orange County, this is most likely the bird you are looking for.

The male has very brilliant blue feathers on his head, back, and tail. His chest is an orange or bold chestnut color and his undertail coverts also have some chestnut coloring. There is a lighter blue on his stomach. The female is similar, but much duller in color. Western Bluebirds are part of a family of songbirds called thrushes. Thrushes are small or medium-sized songbirds that include the Varied Thrush, the American Robin, Eastern Bluebird, Mountain Bluebird, Townsend's Solitaire, Swainson's Thrush, and the Hermit Thrush. Western Bluebirds have a pleasant song. Nothing very fancy, but certainly a nice song to listen to as you walk through the open woodlands and forests this bluebird calls home. Unlike the Eastern and Mountain Bluebirds, the Western Bluebird's habitat is not primarily meadows or pastureland. It prefers a few trees. Open woodlands and even open coniferous forests are ideal. Thrushes often feed on the ground.

GPS: 33.703050, -118.004259