This chipper little ball of color is a member of the thrush family, which includes the American robin with whom this bird has its rusty red breast in common.
Bluebirds are cavity nesters that prefer open fields within a quick flight to sheltering trees and shrubs, and a breeding pair occasionally nests near the banding station. However, this is not generally the type of habitat around the station, and only two bluebirds were banded in 2010. The Powdermill station is again hosting a bluebird nest box trail which has been known in past years to bring more of these birds into the banding area throughout the breeding season.
Bluebird nesting boxes have been credited with bringing this species back from a steep population decline. A combination of the loss of their preferred open-field habitat and competition for nesting sites had resulted in an estimated 70% decline by the 1970s. A nationwide effort to construct nesting boxes and maintain them on closely monitored trails seems to have laid a solid foundation for a rebound in the bluebird’s population levels.