It’s time for the Mountain Bluebirds to return to the highlands of Idaho! The Idaho State Bird is seldom seen below elevations of 5000 feet and nests above that elevation. The Blues prefer a nesting cavity, so bluebird nesting boxes are quickly inhabited when placed in open, and barren or sparsely grassed areas over 5000 feet.
The Mountain Bluebird often returns to Southern Idaho from their winter migration to find snow-covered hills and nesting boxes not yet above the snow level. However, the Blues are quite cold-resistant and, in winter, feed on the prolific snow fleas. At close examination, perhaps in melting snow around the base of a tree, these tiny black flecks might be found sprinkled in the snow. On any given summer day, hundreds of thousands of snow fleas can populate one cubic meter of topsoil. At 1 to 2 millimeters, they largely go unnoticed by the human population. In the winter, they can be easily spotted against the white backdrop of snow and they provide the protein the bluebirds need during a cold period with no insects available.
The Southern Idaho Mountain Bluebird Association meets at 7 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month at the Twin Falls Public Library.