Friday, May 16, 2008

Bird Watching on the Deck.

The Eastern Bluebird, Sialia sialis, is a medium-sized thrush found in open woodlands, farmlands and orchards.
Adults have a white belly. Adult males are bright blue on top and have a reddish brown throat and breast. Adult females have lighter blue wings and tail, a brownish throat and breast and a grey crown and back. Eastern Bluebirds are found east of the Rockies, southern Canada to the Gulf States and southeastern Arizona to Nicaragua.
The bright blue breeding plumage of the male, easily observed on a wire or open perch, fluttering down to the mowed grass to capture a grasshopper, cricket or beetle makes this species a favorite of birders. The male's call includes sometimes soft warbles of jeew or chir-wi or the melodious song.
That is the encyclopedia definition of the eastern bluebird. My definition is a little different .
To me the bluebird is one of the most colorful bird in the bird kingdom . He is smart , energetic, hard worker , protective , and very devoted to family.

Once you have the bluebirds take up resident in your yard the joy begins. Watching the male come and pick a spot for the nest , which in our case happens to be one of the bluebird houses that we have place in our yard. Early in the spring when the male first appears watching him searching around the area for the best house to show his prospective mate hoping she will say yes and accept his offering . If she does she busy herself with the chore of building the nest and laying and hatching the eggs. All this time the male is busy supplying the food to the female.

This is the time that we really enjoy the birdwatching as the male is busy supplying the food while the female hatches the eggs. Several years ago we started helping them out by feeding them what is known as meal worms we buy from the local bird supply store. We place a small dish on the rail of the deck in which we have put some worms. Watching the bird as he goes back and forth feeding his mate while she is on the nest you observe the devotion he has . This goes on till after the eggs have hatched and till the birds leave the nest. You have heard the old saying

" When the bird leave the nest" or something to that effect , meaning that when you leave the nest you are on your own. Well that is not the case with the bluebird. The male will still feed the chicks while at the same time taking them to the safety of the bushes or trees near by. We put the worms out and he will come down and get his beak full and fly to the trees where the chicks are waiting with open mouths. Over several days the chicks venture farther and farther away . I don't know how old papa bluebird know but he is able to keep track where each is located and take turns feeding each. Soon the chicks come down to the dish of worms themselves and sit there while they are still fed. Slowly as if a light is turned on they start to peck at the worms . At this time you know it will be just another day or so and they will be on their own.. But the birdwatching is not over . Much to our delight the bluebirds will have two and sometime three broods a season that is the good thing about My Favorite Bird . The Eastern Bluebird they are here for the entire summer to enjoy...

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