Here are our top ten blue birds, enjoy!
1. Eastern Bluebird – This is the state bird of New York and Missouri, and it’s a good choice. Eastern Bluebirds are cool birds that are not too elusive, making them easy to find.
Eastern Bluebirds can be found in Northern Illinois year-round, though they are less common in winter (we get pretty excited about winter sightings). Although they were declining in the 60s and 70s, they rebounded quickly with the help of vigorous nest-box campaigning and are easy for children to observe.
2. Blue Grosbeak – This uncommon bird hangs out in shrubby areas, unfortunately, very rarely in our area. The female is brown, but also very beautiful.
3. Blue Jay – Who doesn’t love the raucous Blue Jay? They sound like squeaky doors and car alarms and holler about owls, peanuts, and nothing! Blue Jays are boisterous, but we think it is just an act. Around here, they are sometimes camera shy. The photo below is from our relatives farm feeder in northern Wisconsin.
4. Lazuli Bunting – We didn’t count this guy as a life bird when it made a rare appearance into Winnebago County, Illinois, (because it was captured at the banding station). Nonetheless, it was an exciting event (first one banded here!) and we got photos!
5. Indigo Bunting – Though the female is a dull brown, the male is one of the bluest of the bunch. Indigo Buntings are very prevalent in our area. They seem to sing and sing around here and we just never get tired of them.
6. Mountain Bluebird – A gorgeous blue bird of the west, one we’d like to add to our photo life list. Road Trip!
The Mountain Bluebird often occurs outside its normal range in winter. Individuals are casually recorded in western and northern Alaska, and in the midwestern and eastern states. – Cornell Lab of Ornithology
7. Steller’s Jay – We definitely don’t see this guy around here, but in July of 2004, some of the Birdfreak Team traveled to Arizona and were rewarded with many views of this fine jay. What a great resident bird!
Steller’s and Blue jays are the only North American jays with crests. The Blue Jay is expanding its range westward. Where they meet, the two species occasionally interbreed and produce hybrids. – Cornell Lab of Ornithology
8. Belted Kingfisher – Often heard first with a loud rattle of a call, this guy is a superb fisherman. One unusual trait of the Belted Kingfisher is that the female is brighter than the male. We can see them year-round here in northern Illinois if there is open water.
9. Western Scrub Jay – Another bird that is not very shy, the Western Scrub-Jay is another exciting bird to watch.
They can be pretty tame around campsites.
The Western Scrub-Jay can be divided into three forms, each of which may or may not be a separate species. The California Scrub-Jay of the Pacific coast has contrasting dark blue-and-white plumage, with a prominent blue necklace on a streaked white throat. The Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay of the Great Basin and eastward is duller and less well-marked, with little or no necklace. Sumichrast’s Scrub-Jay of central Mexico has whiter underparts and little or no necklace. – Cornell Lab of Ornithology
10. Great Blue Heron – This bird comes in many shades, from blueish to white, but we thought it was blue enough for our list. Great Blues are common in northern Illinois, and even found in the cold winter months. They are majestic and fierce fishermen, and a great joy to watch. The Great Blue Heron is a sure way to impress the kids and get them interested in birding!
Other Top Tens: