One of the joys of late spring can be found flitting about the trees. Our backyard is typically populated by robins, thrashers, wrens, towhees, chickadees, sparrows, cardinals, woodpeckers, and doves, with a few other feathery friends just passing through. This year a family of catbirds moved in, and finally — after we hung out a “See Rock City” birdhouse, a couple of bluebirds decided to stay for a spell.
I was so proud. I’ve always loved catching glimpses of their cobalt blue flitting through, but never had any luck attracting them. I didn’t really expect them to find a rather large red house to be appealing, but we saw them checking it out over several days this spring. When the male started attacking his reflection in the kitchen window, I was hopeful that he had adopted the yard as his territory.
We bought some live mealworms, figuring that if we put out a buffet, the birds would be more likely to stay. Soon, the brightly colored male was feeding worms to his more understated partner, which I learned was a mating behavior encouraging her to build a nest and do the necessaries for getting potential eggs fertilized.
Each morning, as weather and time have allowed, I’ve been eating breakfast and reading the paper on the deck, often with my camera close by, enjoying the mostly quiet but occasionally raucous show as the bluebirds came faithfully to the mealworms (living or dried), and sometimes got up enough gumption to gang up and chase away the larger robins and thrashers that wanted their share of the freebie feast.
In time, it became obvious that the female was sitting on one or more eggs, as the male would fly back and forth with a mouthful of worms for her. When she flew the coop and joined him in scavenging, we knew that the young had hatched and were growing steadily.
With keen anticipation, we watched every morning in hopes of seeing the fledglings spread their wings and fly, but it was not to be. Whenever they left the nest, we weren’t around, and they either moved on or became something’s lunch fairly quickly, for we never saw them.
I thought about installing a “bluebird cam” we could access by Internet, but decided against it.
In either case, I’ll continue to be grateful that creation’s guiding hand has an appreciation for beauty.