April Bluebirds

A female eastern bluebird on the first birdhouse, Iowa, April 1, 2017.

A flash of blue breezed by as I walked back to the car Saturday morning. A pair of eastern bluebirds were checking out the birdhouses on the western end of the park. I saw the male bluebird first. He landed on the second birdhouse from the path. He disappeared into the first birdhouse and looked out through the opening. He flew back to the second birdhouse. His mate was resting on one of the small trees behind the birdhouses. She conducted her own inspection of the first birdhouse. They flew away. What did they decide?

Last year was the first year for the birdhouses in the park next door. At least one bluebird family called them home in the summer. They were rarely close enough for a photograph.

A flock of bluebirds flew past me on a visit to the park on the lake at the end of October (“Golden”). One of them stopped on the fence around the bison enclosure and looked back before flying away to join his family.

“We know you have been trying to photograph us all summer,” he said. “Here you go. Make it snappy! I’ve things to do, places to go, and berries to eat.”

“Thank you,” I whispered as he flew away.

I went to the park early Saturday to leave the rest of the birdseed by the marsh. I walked around to the east side of the pond with the hope of seeing ducks. In the dim light of the cloudy dawn, I saw a trio of northern shoverler ducks. I didn’t know their name at the time. I only knew I hadn’t seen them before. They flew away before I could get a good look.

An eastern meadowlark and a red-winged blackbird were singing a duet by the marsh.

May 21, 2016

A male eastern bluebird in a tree behind the birdhouses, Iowa, May 21, 2016.

A male eastern bluebird in a tree behind the birdhouses, Iowa, May 21, 2016.

July 30, 2016

A young male eastern bluebird in a tree near the birdhouses, Iowa, July 30, 2016.

A young male eastern bluebird in a tree near the birdhouses, Iowa, July 30, 2016.

A young male eastern bluebird in a tree near the birdhouses, Iowa, July 30, 2016.

A young male eastern bluebird in a tree near the birdhouses, Iowa, July 30, 2016.

April 1, 2017

A pair of migrating northern shoveler ducks in the pond at dawn, Iowa, April 1, 2017.

An eastern meadowlark on the playing field grass at sunrise, Iowa, April 1, 2016.

An eastern meadowlark singing at sunrise, Iowa, April 1, 2017. Northern cardinals, song sparrows, red-winged blackbirds, and American robins sing and chatter in the background.

A red-winged blackbird in the marsh at sunrise, Iowa, April 1, 2017.

A red-winged blackbird in the marsh at sunrise, Iowa, April 1, 2017.

A red-winged blackbird calling in the marsh at sunrise, Iowa, April 1, 2017.

A red-winged blackbird in the marsh at sunrise, Iowa, April 1, 2017.

A male eastern bluebird on the second birdhouse, Iowa, April 1, 2017.

A male eastern bluebird looking out of the first birdhouse, Iowa, April 1, 2017.

A male eastern bluebird looking out of the first birdhouse, Iowa, April 1, 2017.

A male eastern bluebird flying between the birdhouses, Iowa, April 1, 2017.

A male eastern bluebird flying between the bird houses, Iowa, April 1, 2017.

A male eastern bluebird on the second birdhouse, Iowa, April 1, 2017.

A male eastern bluebird on the second birdhouse, Iowa, April 1, 2017.

A female eastern bluebird looking into the first birdhouse, Iowa, April 1, 2017.

A female eastern bluebird on the first birdhouse, Iowa, April 1, 2017.

A female eastern bluebird on the first birdhouse, Iowa, April 1, 2017.

A female eastern bluebird on a tree near the birdhouses, Iowa, April 1, 2017.

Take care and thanks for reading.

Sarah

About Sarah

nature, outdoor, and health enthusiast, book reader, and runner
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10 Responses to April Bluebirds

  1. zirah1 says:

    How interesting that the focus of the post is on bluebirds. I was just reading an article in Birds & Blooms (a gift subscription from my sister) that a lady wrote about her sweet experience w/ a bluebird hunting for a mate and how the couple ended up choosing the bluebird house she quickly went out and bought (along w/ meal worms, etc.) to entice them into staying and raised a family there. She was wondering if they would be coming back. Anyway, I loved your story of the male and female “house hunting”….reminded me of the article. Hope they have some babies for you to check on in the future.

    p.s. Boy, those red-winged blackbird pics are amazing. The birds are such a deep, rich black and then that pop of red to set things off. Mother Nature is just amazing.

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Zirah 🙂
      Thanks for visiting, your kind thoughts, and sharing the story about the lady and the bluebirds!
      I was surprised to see the bluebirds yesterday. It was the first sighting of them in the park this year. When I saw the birdhouses for the first time, I thought they would be too close to the path and the parking lot for any birds to consider them. There is also a playing field with baseball backstops in the middle of the western end of the park. It can be a busy place at certain times of the day and the year. The bluebirds were shy and quick to retreat to the cover of the trees or slip into the birdhouse, but I did see at least one pair frequently last summer even if they stayed too far away for photographs. There might have been families in both of the birdhouses. I didn’t see the baby bluebirds when they first left the nest. The one on the tree was midway to changing his feathers and he still has something of a baby bird beak.
      I love the red-winged blackbirds. 🙂 They are impressive when they fluff themselves up as they call out.

  2. Shady_Grady says:

    I guess the bluebird wanted to be sure that you were ready for his closeup.

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Shady 🙂
      Thanks for visiting! I think the bluebird was looking around to check for trouble while his mate investigated the birdhouse. 🙂 I was surprised they let me get as close as I did which was a smidgen closer than I managed last year. The female bluebird flew to a tree which was closer to me than the birdhouses for the last photo before they both flew away. The bluebirds are about 7 inches which is in between the size of the song sparrows (6 in) and the robins (10 in). The song sparrows are less shy. They will let me within about 10 to 15 feet before they feel the need to fly away. The bluebird’s comfort distance seems to be greater than 25 feet.

  3. birdlady612 says:

    Wow, great pictures. We have yet to see Bluebirds in our yard. I’m going to try again this year to attract them. Keep up the great work. 🙋🐦

    • Sarah says:

      Hi 🙂
      Thanks for visiting and your kind thoughts! I am happy you enjoyed the photos. 🙂 I love watching the birds. The bluebirds have thoughtful eyes like the tufted titmouses and iridescence feathers like the barn and the tree swallows. The feathers of the papa bluebird shimmer like little burst of sky flying past. Good luck inviting them into your backyard! 🙂

  4. We don’t have bluebirds here, so I loved looking through these photos – thank you for sharing 🙂

    • Sarah says:

      Hi 🙂
      Thanks for visiting and your kindness! I am happy you enjoyed seeing the bluebirds. 🙂 Where I used to live I rarely saw them so to have a family of bluebirds living in the park next door is a happy event. 🙂 They like to perch high in the trees or on the telephone wires. I can tell them by their silhouettes and the sparkle of their blue feathers.

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