Thursday, May 27, 2010

A 'Moon' Bird

Each week we eagerly start the bluebird monitoring at 8:30 in the morning, usually a Tuesday, to find the latest happenings in the boxes along the trail. It is a delight to be at the garden enjoying the beauty of the surroundings as well as seeing the bluebirds and hearing their lilting calls. Folks driving by and on their way to work give us a friendly wave when they see us peeking in boxes. We're part of the scenery and that's confirmation that all is well.

That is, we hope all is well but we are having a few surprises from time to time. Sometimes a box that had five eggs in it the week before might have only one egg remaining. Or the chicks that were newborn have disappeared. Or the nest has been completely abandoned. We conclude that predators are the culprits. It's sad but it's also the way of nature and every animal has to have a meal now and then. A couple of boxes that are near the ponds have been vandalized. Snakes are suspect but one box has claw marks on it which suggests a raccoon. We make notes of all these happenings in our notebook.

The biggest surprise has been a tree swallow that refuses to leave the box when we try to check on it. That mother bird is steadfast. She does not budge. We even used a flashlight in an effort to confirm her identity and all she did was show us her backside. Imagine that! Being 'mooned' by a bird! Tree swallows are known to use bluebird boxes and, in fact, sometimes are regarded as pests. However, this is the first year that one of our boxes has been used. Maybe in the next week or two, we'll be able to peek at what's going on inside that box. Mama has to leave sometime in order to gather insects for the chicks. If we're lucky, she'll be gone when we come along.

As to the "blues" themselves, everything is on course for this time of the season. Chicks have fledged and second nestings have begun. Life continues and it gives us many surprises along the way. That's the way it should be.

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