NOTES ON BLUEBIRD EXPERIENCES---***
*** First a confession---we have little knowlege of bluebirds. The following words are only our observations. Viewing these birds has become a pleasant past time.
On Saturday morning, June 23, 2001, we noticed a male bluebird standing on top of our arbor, which sits in front of our house, covered with roses. Usually the bluebirds perch in the tops of our small trees which are further out in our front yard. So, it was a treat to get a close up view of the bird.
When I built the arbor I made a birdhouse in each peak, hoping to attract some wrens. We have 6 wren houses in the trees in back of the house and they are occupied each year. After three years and no wrens, we have given up hope of having any in the front yard. (the houses are about seven feet up from the ground and could be to low).
Watching the male bluebird as he fluttered from one side of the arbor to the other and then settle down on the top, it appeared as if he was looking at the quarter size hole in the birdhouse for wrens. His antics went on for about an hour and then he flew away. He was at the arbor on and off all day Saturday.
Early Sunday morning the hole in each house was enlarged to 1 1/2 inches, and three- 1/4" ventilation holes were added. The bluebird was back within an hour of enlarging the holes. His antics were the same as before, but before long he included the perch which was on the house for the wrens. That was the extent of his actions for Sunday. That behavior went on for most of the morning, then he was gone until late in the afternoon, and preformed the same ritual.
Monday morning he was at the house early and his movements were the same as Sunday, but all of a sudden he was putting his head in the hole. This went on for what seemed to be an eternity. Once in awhile he would go to the top of the arbor and sing. This took up about two hours.
By this time a female appeared with him. She mostly just sat on the arbor. Once in awhile going to the perch and looking in. At this point neither had ventured inside the house. All of a sudden the male went to the perch and then into the house. He rapidly entered and exited the house several times.. Then he entered and stayed in for quite awhile. He was moving around inside and all of a sudden the hole turned white. Then black again. The male was moving something to the hole as if he was trying to push it out the hole. A later investigation reveled the white to be an old hornet's nest. With the help of a ladder, some wire and needle nose pliers the hornets' nest was removed.
The next couple of days the male removed bits of the hornets nest. Otherwise the male and female were around allot, going in and out , but not doing much.
Today, Thursday-- the female is going in the house with small bits in her beak. Hopefully building a nest. Also, the female was standing on the peak of the arbor with grass in her beak and the male hovering over the top of her, but not touching her. She then flew away, only to return a few minutes later.
Friday morning, 5:30am---first to the window---the birds are already at work on their nest. Well, the female is working. It seems that the males' job is as guard, inspector and occasionally get a morsel of food for the female. There is activity of other birds around the arbor. Wrens, who are hardly ever seen in the front area, are now around. There are some sparrows harassing the bluebirds, but the bluebirds seem to be holding their own. Also, there is a yellow and black finch that is only on the arbor when the bluebirds are there.
It's interesting how the male bluebird's physical stature has changed. When he first came to the arbor and was inspecting it and the birdhouse he was erect and tall in his stance. Now when he lands his body is horizontal and low. His legs are hardly visible. His feathers are all phoofed out , making him look bigger. Guarding???
She is busy gathering grass and debris for the nest. Once in awhile the male goes in the house, seemingly to inspect. The female is getting some material from the garden by the fence, which is connected to the arbor. Then she will fly out of sight and later come back with nesting material from a long way off.
Today for the first time, both birds were in the house together. During the hot part of the day there is little activity at the birdhouse.
Saturday and one week since our first encounter with the bluebirds. Rising early in anticapation of getting some good photos of the birds. Guess what? All day went by and no birds! Well, that's not quite right. It seems the sparrows are up to no good. They have taken over the arbor. Sometimes with as many as six or eight of them at the arbor at the same time.
A few times late Saturday afternoon and Sunday the male bluebird did fly across the yard, but he did not land at the arbor. No birds on Monday. Spending the last 2 days cusing sparrows and waving my arms around trying to get them out of the yard, I'm sure passers-by on the road think I'm losing it!!!
"Mother nature" is remarkable, but she does has a mean streak!