Hundreds of thousands of Eastern bluebirds died in February during harsh winter weather to the south of us. Snow, ice and cold weather killed bluebirds and other early migrants in a wide swath from Oklahoma to the East Coast.
Reports from newspapers throughout that area say Eastern bluebirds and other early spring migrants froze, or died from lack of food and water.
That's why you are not seeing bluebirds this spring.
The bluebirds do not leave the country during fall migration. They go only as far south as needed to find mild winter weather. That would include Missouri and Arkansas directly south of us.
A check Monday of the three dozen nesting boxes I manage found no bluebirds. In a usual season bluebirds would be building nests in 10 to 12 of those boxes.
This is not unprecedented. Spring migrants have died on the journey north for hundreds of thousands of years. The populations always recover.