[TN-Bird] Re: Aggressive Bluebirds

  • From: "Reese, Carol" <jreese5@xxxxxxx>
  • To: "ellsy10@xxxxxxxxxxx" <ellsy10@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 19 Feb 2015 19:55:35 +0000

I have not seen fights over food, but many over houses, including one where one 
of the females fought along with the male, while the other female sat demurely 
overhead on a wire and watched. The couple that fought together won the house. 
The female was vocalizing during the fight, and I always imagined her to be 
saying something to her mate, like. "Fight, dammit! I gotta lay an egg tonight!"

"There are some who can live without wild things and some who cannot."
- Aldo Leopold<http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/43828.Aldo_Leopold>

Carol Reese
Ornamental Horticulture Specialist
Western Region Extension
605 Airways Blvd.
Jackson, TN 38301

731-425-4767 Office / 731-343-4898 Mobile
jreese5@xxxxxxx  <mailto:jreese5@xxxxxxx>
Facebook page:  

From: tn-bird-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:tn-bird-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On 
Behalf Of Dan Ellsworth
Sent: Thursday, February 19, 2015 10:36 AM
To: tn-bird@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [TN-Bird] Aggressive Bluebirds

 As the cold weather has brought a lot of excitement to many of our feeders 
with additional species and high counts, for me it also demonstrated 
interesting behavior. While I have witnessed Eastern Bluebirds being aggressive 
and territorial during breeding season, yesterday was the first time I 
witnessed it with winter flocks.  There are five Bluebirds in a winter flock 
that visit my yard and the surrounding area regularly.  Due to the cold I have 
been putting out dried mealworms for them the past few days.  For the first 
time I saw a second flock of four Bluebirds arrive yesterday while the five in 
the resident flock were present.  It was all out chaos as members of the 
resident flock went after the newcomers in all directions.  Instead of just a 
chase like I expected, I watched in wonderment as several of the newcomers put 
up a fight and I tried my best to watch multiple parts of my yard with 
Bluebirds pinning each other, pecking, and all out attacking.  This lasted at 
least a minute, which is actually a long time for this kind of fight and 
finally ended with the retreat of the newcomers which were then chased across 
the field behind my home.  The most interesting part is that almost all the 
Bluebirds took part in this fighting, not just one or two overly aggressive 

Maybe this happens regularly when food is scarce, but this was definitely a 
first for me with the usually passive Bluebirds I am used to seeing.  Just 
curious if anyone else has seen such severe territorial aggression between 
winter Bluebird flocks or if this was an unusual sighting?

Dan Ellsworth
Farragut, TN

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