The Occasions Lady and Bluebirds of Happiness
It was early spring when I noticed the first bluebird in our backyard. He was sitting on top of a blue birdhouse designed to look like a church that I bought last year.
We live just inside the bypass, not far from the thousands of vehicles that travel the interstate every day, so I was both surprised and delighted to see him perched on top of the small blue church.
A few days later, the female landed on top of another birdhouse that my son, Adam, had given me as a Mother’s Day gift. During the next few days, we realized she was building a nest in the blue church. I think that was the moment when I officially turned into a bird nerd.
We restocked our Japanese Maple with suet that was suitable for bluebirds and watched from the deck as the male and female fed throughout the day. As the female gathered twigs for her nest, the male would fly down and sit on top of the church as soon as she disappeared inside. Once she exited the birdhouse, the male would fly back to a nearby tree until it was time to stand guard again.
We gave them their space and tried not to disturb them while they were preparing for their brood, but I would be lying if I said we did not attempt to peep inside the birdhouse once or twice to see if there were eggs or babies. After nearly a month had passed, we stopped seeing the adult bluebirds going into the blue church. We were a little concerned that something had happened to them and missed seeing them play in the backyard.
A few weeks later, I noticed the adult male had returned to the Japanese Maple and the female soon followed with her young brood. To our surprise, there were now six bluebirds making their home in our backyard – two adults and four babies. That’s a whole lot of happiness. I felt like we had won the bluebird lottery as we watched all six land in the tree or on a nearby power line.
With four more mouths to feed, we restocked the tree with suet and bought an additional birdfeeder that we filled with mealworms – a bluebird favorite. We watched as the bluebirds, cardinals and occasional pesky blue jay fed from the tree.
To my surprise, I soon began seeing the male and female working on another nest in the blue church. They barely had their first four out of the house and they were already preparing for their next brood. After a little research, I learned that bluebirds are monogamous and sometimes have up to three broods between March and August.
I may never have enough patience to go out in the wilderness birdwatching for certain species, but even I am a little shocked at how easy it was to become obsessed with our new feathered friends. With the help of a bird app on my phone, I am discovering the identities, calls and songs of the birds in our backyard. I’ve also ordered a pair of binoculars for better birdwatching and can’t wait to get a few close-up photos of our backyard broods. Seriously, who have I become?
The sighting of a bluebird has brought joy to people for thousands of years, and many cultures view it as a symbol of joy, happiness and luck. It’s been a challenging year so far, and we could use all three. Perhaps that’s why they landed at our home.
Whatever the reason, it’s a bluebird kind of summer at our house, and we are looking forward to watching another brood of happiness take flight in our own backyard, even if we have to help launch them ourselves.