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Opening image photo of eastern bluebird by Stan Tekiela. Story title: Why are Bluebirds Blue? Birds are among the most colorful creatures on earth.

By Gustave Axelson

You might have some very good reasons for the way you dress. If you're going outside to play, you might wear old, scruffy blue jeans. But if you're going out for a fancy dinner, you might dress up. You might choose the brightest and cleanest clothes in your closet, so that when people see you at the restaurant, they might say something like "You look good!"

Birds have a good reason to dress up and look good—male birds want to attract females to mate. For a male bird, dressing up means growing a brightly colored set of feathers, or plumage.

Ornithologists, or scientists who study birds, are trying to find out more about why some birds have bright colors. For example, to find out why bluebirds are so blue, a scientist at Appalachian State University in North Carolina closely watched bluebirds at more than 200 bluebird houses. She discovered that the bluer a male bluebird is, the more success it has attracting a mate, finding a place to nest, and producing a family of healthy young bluebirds.

As you flip through the following pages, you'll see coloring activities for six colorful bird species. As you color, ask yourself, "Why am I using this crayon for this bird?" You'll find some cool color facts that might help answer your questions.

Teachers Resources

Full color PDF of Why is a Bluebird Blue?. Teacher's guide for Why is a Bluebird Blue?. illustration of birds

Listen to the Birds

Learn the songs and calls of 24 birds common to Minnesota with an interactive illustration. Find more teachers resources and the previously published corresponding story What's in a Bird Song?

Full-color PDF of
Why is a Bluebird Blue?
This is a PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it.

Teachers Guide for
Why is a Bluebird Blue?
This is a PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it.

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