Tuesday, May 14, 2013

On bluebirds and other matters

Late Sunday afternoon, I poured a cocktail, grabbed my camera and the long lens, and took a camp chair down to the fence line to sit by one of the bluebird boxes where I’d seen some action going on.

I wasn’t out there very long, so I didn’t capture much. With bluebirds, I’ve found that you need patience and a chunk of time. I had the former but was running out of light for the latter.

Light for the latter. Ok. That sounds odd.

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The female didn’t seem to have a problem with me sitting there. She continued to feed the babies inside the box after ascertaining that I wasn’t there to cause her grief. If it’s just a male you see bringing food to the box, it usually means that the babies aren’t born yet. The female will be inside, incubating the eggs.

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She’s about to take off here, but I missed the wing shot by a nano-second. Drat!

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Housekeeping here. As an aside, I have yet to see a male bluebird cleaning the nest although I have read that both parents share in this duty. This is a fecal sack that the female is removing from the nest.

A fecal sac is a clean, tough mucous/gelatinous membrane/film containing the excrement of nestling birds. Nestlings usually excrete one sac after each feeding, especially as they get older. The parent grasps the sac by the middle with their beak.

I do hope you are taking notes.

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Next up on the menu is a live grasshopper.

He was twitching.


But everybody’s gotta eat.

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George was hoping that I would throw his frisbee. But the birds won’t come when there’s too much movement in front of the nest.

He looks sad about it, doesn’t he?

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Ok, maybe not. Here, he’s lookin’ kinda hopeful.

But it’s not happenin’, I tell him.

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:   :   :

In other news, the crazy male cardinal continues to thwack the living room window at his reflection. I can hear him out there as I write this. School continues to be extraordinarily busy. My husband thanked me for the excellent meal tonight. I picked up a roaster chicken and a small tub of red-skinned potato salad from the local Acme, and microwaved some frozen asparagus spears. It was really good.

Too bad there’s no trifle left for dessert . . .

Until tomorrow then? You’ll come back, I hope.

Because it’s always a pleasure having you visit.

123 Signature[5]


Unknown said...

Please never stop posting.
Thanks. :)

Low Tide High Style said...

Gorgeous pics of the bluebirds, and I learned something new too! :)

Glad your husband enjoyed the meal and I hope things settle down a little at work.

xo Kat

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

I am pretty sure the male genetic code has something to do with the lack of cleaning. But wait. I can't use that as an excuse...

Anyway, great shots and explanation of the daily life of the bluebirds. If the one gets tired of cleaning the nest, could you point her south? Windows are optional. Thank you.

Ellen said...

My mom loves blue birds. There has been a pair feeding in their yard, though not nesting in the bluebird box.

Country Gal said...

Wonderful photos and post ! Oh I am always checking on my list for a new post to read on your blog . Thanks for sharing ! Have a good day !

Hilary said...

Of course we'll be back. Where else could we learn about the nesting habits of bluebirds. You're much more fun than Cornell. And you have beautiful George. Great captures all around, Kate.

JaneK said...

Bird diapers! I just figured they sat in the excrement.... Cool...

George looks a little perturbed you won't play...

I'll come back if you'll leave the light on :-)

Sarah said...

I was waiting for the bluebird pictures since you mentioned them in the last post. :)

I wonder if the cardinal would stop knocking if you put a couple stickers on the window (the kind that easily peels back off again)?


Linda said...

The trifle is gone already?!? Dang it! I missed it :(

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Anonymous said...

I'm not surprised that the trifle is gone. My word that looked so good, Kate!

GailO said...

I am so jealous of those bluebirds! It sounds like fun sitting outside waiting for the right moment with a cocktail and a camera:) Wonderful photos!

JC said...

I'm glad I looked in to see how you were doing.

andy said...

What great pictures !!!!!! Hope you have a wonderful day !

Lisa Gordon said...

Our little bluebirds are just beginning their nest building, and it looks like every house we have for them will be used this year. They really are so interesting to watch.

Awwwww, poor George!

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becky up the hill said...

There is a term for that bird behavior. I tried to find it last night, but couldn't. One year we were thrilled that a pair of blue birds nested in our birdhouse on our driveway garden. Until the male started pecking the windows and attacking the side mirrors of our cars. Added insult he pooped each time. We ended up putting paper bags over the windows, especially when a relative came with her fancy new black car. I still remember a friend pulling up next to me at a light, taking a look at our poopy car and saying, "you have a bird that is real mad at you"...ha.

Unknown said...

I continue to marvel at your bird shots!....smiles

beth said...

your bird knowledge blows my mind...and thank you for capturing these birds since i put a little pressure on you :)

the twitching grasshopper kind of grossed me out...LOL...but made me laugh :)

and george....oh funny handsome george.....xo

Anonymous said...

Well, I've certainly missed a lot here! First, I'm drooling over the trifle and second, loving the photos of George and captions. Missing you while taking care of ongoing family issues...ugh!...and hoping for a little return to normalcy in the coming weeks. On a vacation day today while the plumber plays in my basement ($$$). I'll be back! LOL Hugs!

The JR said...

Those are great shots. You need to give my hubby lessons.

All the pics from the horseshoe this past weekend....stink.

Annie said...

Always good to catch up here Kate. Been a little busy getting carried away with the shifting here.
Love your little snippets of life with the birds! And George being very good and patient.
Also love the lilacs in a previous post. And the story of the forgotten photography slides. Loved the photos you published looking forward to reading the article, and seeing the documentary.
And the trifle for Mother's Day. Delicious.
Hope you are having a good week.

Carolynn Anctil said...

It sounds like a lovely way to spend a few early evening hours. George seems to be enjoying the quiet, as well. Although, if he's anything like my Willow and her ball, he perks right up if there's even the hint of an opportunity for play.


Woman Seeking Center said...

Fab pics (as always!)
One of your pics of George looks for all the world as tho he's pouting - too funny - laugh out loud funny.

Really interesting info on the bluebirds - thank you - all things I never knew (and with pics too) Honestly, fascinating Kate!

The cardinal and glass and bluebirds reminds me that a few years ago I had to cover both sideview mirrors on my vehicle because I had a male bluebird who endlessly 'challenged' the interloper he saw in each mirror. I was worried he'd hurt himself and break one (or both) mirrors. The local farmers thought it was the funniest thing ever to see the bags tied (with string bows I admit!) on my mirrors every nite during nesting season. It wasn't until a bit later in the summer they told me how they pulled the cars in their barn at nite OR cut bendable plastic from pails to 'sung fit' just inside the mirrors at nite to thwart the behavior.

*guess I did pass some sort of newcomer/gal muster as they DID eventually tell me the easy way to deal with the bird/reflection issue lol*

Does drapery/blindes/stick
on window decoration discourage his window crashing?


Em Parkinson said...

Lovely clean animals birds! George looks so sweet in that resignation picture. I've been missing your posts thanks to my stupid computer, so glad to be back. x

Kay said...

thanks for the bird lesson today....love it..it's a dreary day here on the coast of Oregon, trying to rain but just can't !! muggy.

Anonymous said...

Since you took the photos in the afternoon of Mother's Day, the little mother bluebird's toil of feeding her babies-- and cleaning the nest-- could not have been a more perfect and profound subject for the day. Absolutely gorgeous...wing shot or no, I always comment on the personality you capture with your shots. I love your blog.

DesertHen said...

I loved seeing the shots of the bluebirds, even the one with the wiggly grasshopper!

We have Mountain Bluebirds here in Nevada. They are the State Bird. They are so pretty, but we don't see them often.

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Mental P Mama said...

Fecal sack. Hmmmm.

Anonymous said...
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Reena said...

Never knew that about the fecal sac! Interesting. And George ... sweet sweet George.

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Kacey said...

Love the bluebird pics! I just shot my first one ever the other night...but it was too far away to do much with. Poor George...he does look like he wants you to play with him instead of the camera...