Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A very good thing.

They really do bring happiness, those bluebirds.

Some time ago I did a little photo trip around the farm for this blog. I took pictures of our bluebird houses and lamented how the swallows ran off the bluebirds each year, building their nests on top of those the bluebirds had constructed, often right over freshly-laid eggs. Nope, I don't like it one bit, yet without an effective method of interference, I stay out of it.

Somehow, somewhere, the bluebirds do manage to get the job done, as we continue to have them year after year. They sit on our power lines to the barns, and when they see a yummy bug on the ground, dive down to catch it. By October, they're gone, and usually return around the end of February.

A few weeks ago I saw a bluebird on the wire. I figured it must be a male that was too old to make the migration. We get a few bug hatchings during the winter months, but certainly not enough to sustain the bird. And with last week's bitter cold, I thought for sure the bird would be dead. Not the case.

As I was putting the finishing touches on the new plumbing in the barns, DW was bringing in the ducks. It was dusk. I saw the bluebird on the wire again and pointed it out to DW as I walked over to the pump house to turn the water back on. As I was coming back, I asked her if it was still there. Yes, she replied, and another bird had joined it.

In the time it took me to walk the forty paces back to where she stood, three more joined the others. Five bluebirds were fluttering from the wire to one of the birdhouses usually used exclusively by the swallows.

I did a little research. Evidently, bluebirds only migrate a very short distance, and those that reside a hundred miles south of here don't migrate at all. They survive the winter by eating bugs and dried berries. Bingo!

A few years ago we planted a number of native trees and shrubs, all of which bear small berries.  In addition, we allowed the same types of bushes and trees that were already out in the pasture to stay and multiply. We have created a habitat.

With any luck, the bluebirds will get a jump on the swallows this year by not having to travel.

Yeah, this makes me happy.

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