A few days ago on the CAS Twitter account, we got into a discussion with other users about Eastern Bluebirds. Long story short, it prompted me to examine their distribution in winter via eBird's mapping capability. The following is an image of that map with all Eastern Bluebird sightings in Connecticut so far in 2011 - yellow markers are sightings less than 30 days old and red are 30+ days.
Notice anything? There are many sightings, but they are conspicuously absent from Stamford up the coast and into Hartford, despite the fact these places are some of the most heavily birded areas. Norwalk through Milford, in particular, is teeming with birders and visitors from around the state. Why does the Eastern Bluebird, one of Connecticut's more common winter sightings, stay out of there? I think part of the reason is this - the same map but for the European Starling.
Even in winter, it seems Eastern Bluebirds want nothing to do with the more developed areas. There are places in the suburban/urban corridor for them to find food, and some habitat to their liking, trust me - but the European Starling may scare them away even when it is not the breeding season. It is just something to ponder, as we do with many things on Twitter. And isn't eBird helpful?
Images via eBird