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To get started on your Bluebird Sanctuary, be sure to offer open space including grasses and meadow, and at least one bluebird house, and one of these planting kits, depending on soil:

Dry to Medium 

  • Blackgum
  • Eastern Redcedar
  • Arrowwood viburnum
  • Flowering Dogwood (may need supplemental water)
  • Black chokeberry

You may substitute, for any of the above (except the Redcedar): Chokecherry (Canada Red), Blackhaw Viburnum, American Cranberry Bush.


Medium to Wet

  • Flowering Dogwood
  • Eastern Redcedar
  • Serviceberry
  • Silky dogwood
  • Elderberry

You may substitute any of the above for Hackberry, Red Twig Dogwood, Gray Dogwood.


The plants in this kit range in container size from 3 to 15 gallons and between roughly 3 and 6 feet tall.


Photos: Bluebird, Eastern Redcedar

To Create a Bluebird Sanctuary

  • Eastern Bluebirds rebounded from near extinction in the mid-20th Century thanks to a grassroots conservation effort dedicated to the birds’ survival. 

    Those efforts include educational campaigns against insecticides, which were killing the katydids, worms, slugs, moths, mosquitoes and grasshoppers bluebirds feed on.   

    Other work was done to create habitat for bluebirds, including houses with openings too small for House Sparrows, European Starlings and other exotic birds, which were taking over bluebird nesting cavities.  The houses also were protected from snakes, raccoons and other predators.

    Trees and shrubs planted for to provide winter fruits included White Flowering Dogwood, Black Cherry, Blackgum, Blackhaw Viburnum and American Holly.  

    Eastern Redcedar provides shelter, and tasty shrubs include Blueberry, Elderberry, Aronia, Serviceberry, Winterberry and Arrowwood.  

    Since these campaigns were launched in the 1970s, bluebirds have gone from facing extinction to being delisted -- one species' story of how habitat can protect biodiversity.

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