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What Is New York’s State Bird? How Was It Decided?

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Eastern Bluebird perched on a branch

Birds are an important part of all cultures and societies. As a result, each state in the United States has voted on its official state bird. Some states share the same state bird, whereas others have unique birds that are specific to their region alone. So, what about New York?  

New York’s state bird is the Eastern Bluebird. It is a medium-sized songbird with flashy plumage. The Eastern Bluebird is also Missouri’s state bird. You won’t have to look hard to find the Eastern Bluebird in New York today.

If you are interested in learning more about the Eastern Bluebird, including when it was voted on as New York State bird, keep reading.

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What Is New York’s State Bird?

New York’s state bird is the Eastern Bluebird. It was very common in the northeast regions until the 1920s. After that, numbers began to dwindle due to predation and habitat loss. Luckily, the North American Bluebird Society, state affiliates, and local affiliates have worked hard to make sure the Eastern Bluebird has a safe home in the state. Now, their numbers are soaring again.

The Eastern Bluebird is not only New York’s state bird. Missouri also recognizes the Eastern Bluebird as its state bird. Idaho and Nevada don’t recognize the Eastern Bluebird, but the Mountain Bluebird is their state bird instead. As you probably figured, the Mountain Bluebird is closely related to the Eastern Bluebird.

an eastern bluebird perching on a branch of tree
Image Credit: Naturelady, Pixabay

The History of the Eastern Bluebird as New York’s State Bird

The Eastern Bluebird was only voted as the official state bird of New York in 1970. In comparison to most other state birds, the Eastern Bluebird came to the flock a lot later than other birds. In fact, some states were naming their official state birds as early as 1927. Alabama, Florida, Maine, Missouri, Oregon, Texas, and Wyoming are all examples of states that voted on their state bird in 1927.

In comparison to these states, New York was actually the last state to vote on an official state bird. New York voted as late as 1970, which means the Eastern Bluebird was the first and only state bird of New York. North Dakota ties with New York since they voted on their state bird in 1970 as well.

Because New York voted on the Eastern Bluebird so late, Missouri was actually the first state to name the Eastern Bluebird as their state bird. However, it was not unheard of for New York to select a bird that was already chosen. Northern Cardinals and Mockingbirds are considered the state birds for many different states, proving precedence for choosing an already selected bird.

Currently, there is no discussion about changing the New York State bird anytime soon. So, the Eastern Bluebird is here to stay for the time being.

Eastern Bluebird
Image Credit: Steve Byland, Shutterstock

About the Eastern Bluebird

If you go to New York, you should be able to find Eastern Bluebirds. Even though this bird was dwindling in numbers during the 20th century, they are now back in business and considered of low concern.

Eastern Bluebirds are beautiful birds to watch. The males have royal blue feathers located on their back and head. Their breast has a warm reddish-brown color. Females look a bit different. They have an overall grayer appearance with blue tinges on their wings and tails.

You are likely to find them in grassland areas or nesting in cavities. You can also see them on the ground because they are ground foragers. You can often see them sitting on power lines, fences, and other upright positions so they can drop to the ground after spotting an insect.

If you want to attract more Eastern Bluebirds, you must provide mealworms. Because this bird is a forager, it prefers to look for food on the ground. Even so, it’s a good idea to put up nesting boxes during mating season so the females have a place to lay their eggs.

Final Thoughts

Once again, the official state bird of New York is the Eastern Bluebird. The Eastern Bluebird is also the state bird of Missouri, and Missouri voted for the bird before New York. After all, New York was the last state to vote on a state bird.

Whether you are in New York State or in surrounding areas, you won’t have to look too hard to find an Eastern Bluebird. The royal blue and reddish-brown plumage is beautiful. Although it can be difficult to attract these birds to your feeder, you should be able to see them hanging around your home.

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Featured Image Credit: JackBulmer, Pixabay

About the Author Robert Sparks

Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.