Photographed by Bette Jackson
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Hi, I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson, out with the wild things. The eastern blue bird can be found from southern areas of eastern Canada, through the United States and south through the mountains of Mexico into Central America. It has also shown up in western Cuba, and the Virgin Islands, and is a resident on the island of Bermuda. While it is a resident in much of this range, it's a migrant in colder areas, leaving them to winter in the southeastern United States, Mexico, and Cuba. Wherever it's found, this blue bird prefers open habitats, mowed areas or areas kept open by fire or flooding. It feeds extensively on the ground, flying from a low perch to capture insects, but it also feeds on small fruits and insects gleam from foliage. In Florida and elsewhere in the southeast, the eastern blue bird is associated with pine forests that were naturally burned by lightning-started fires. The birds moved into an area when the ground-cover was sparse and left as it became more dense. With control or elimination of fire and elimination of dead trees used as nest sites, blue bird populations declined. With fire or mowing to maintain short grass, and by providing clean, safe nest boxes, blue bird populations can survive in our changing world.'With the Wild Things' is produced at the Whitaker Center in the College of Arts and Sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University. For 'The Wild Things', I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson.