Thursday, June 12, 2008

Meet the Bluebirds

This year we were very happy to welcome back the Western Bluebirds. One family resides in this house for sure. The jury is still out as to whether the other house (photo and movie coming later) is inhabited, although Parlez seems to think so. Come April time I see the male first. He is stunning with his purple-blue feathered cloak and copper waistcoat, a real dapper dude. Nature chooses the most glorious color combinations and I crane to get a glimpse through the binocs. Not long after, his missus arrives and she is just as lovely although a bit more subdued.

Not only do these birds look gorgeous, their behavior is so precious to watch, especially when the little ones arrive and they are busy hunting and feeding grubs and bugs. Both parents care for the young, and I just read if another couple's nest fails they will help with the raising of their neighbor's chicks. How about that for co-operation? While the male is a great hunter and caregiver not once did I see him exit the house with a piece of poop in his beak. I guess he leaves the housekeeping to mama. I would see her fly in with a tasty morsel—cheep, cheep, cheep, cheeep, cheeeeeeep—then fly out with something quite different and bright white, which I finally figured out was, yes, exactly.

Sitting over the weekend in a lawn chair among the pinon trees, arms up, holding my heavy camera, poised, ready to fire (did I say it was heavy?) I sat and I waited and sat and I sat, and as I sat and waited the benefits of a tripod became increasingly clear. As did the benefits of drinking a lot less iced tea. Suddenly, whoosh! papa was back with a bug, and in a flash popped into the house—cheep, cheep, cheep, cheep, cheep, cheepcheepcheepcheepcheep—and emerged very gingerly, as he had spied me upon entry. 

Is the coast clear?  Yeees...

Whooo and away! still keeping his eye on the birdie (me).

And then he landed on a nearby branch to regroup.

This is my first attempt at capturing these beauties. Of course I now want a longer lens, and a stable tripod, and, and, and. But in the meanwhile I'll make do with what I have (lessons from the magpie) and see if I can record any of the chicks' fledging, when they do. Which I hope isn't too soon.  

Click on the images to enlarge. This link will take you to the slide show where you can view them even larger.

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