Mountain Bluebird, Rimrock Springs, Madras, Oregon on 14 June 2008 by Greg Gillson.
The state bird of Idaho and Nevada, these birds range from the higher portions of the Cascades eastward across the Pacific NW. In winter they depart from much of the Pacific NW, but can be found in mild winters in lesser numbers in southern Idaho, south-central Oregon, and southward.
The lovely sky-blue plumage of the male provides a bit of color to the duller greens, grays, and browns of the sage desert of the Great Basin, where they are often found in conjunction with juniper and aspen trees for nesting habitat. In the mountains they prefer meadows and open ponderosa forests.
They eat a variety of insects (especially grasshoppers) and berries. Often they sit on fence wires and sally out to grab insects and return. Or, they may hover along the ground chasing insects.
They are readily attracted to nest boxes. Bluebird nest boxes are 5 x 5 inches and at least 8 inches in height. The hole should be 7 inches above the floor and 1-9/16 inches in diameter, which will block starlings. The nest box should be placed 3-6 feet above the ground.
The call is a soft few note. The song is a whistled tru-lee.
You may also like to visit the web site of the North American Bluebird Society.