My Bluebird Theory

Bluebirds are not-quite-endangered, but rare.  And yet our back yard is teeming with them.  You can sit out there and count six or seven without trying.  So I wonder, why, in a time when bluebirds are struggling to get by (thanks to non-native species that kill them and use their nests) do we have what might rightly be called a shit-ton of bluebirds?

After yesterday, I’m convinced the answer is, because our bluebirds do not take shit from anyone.  You sit in the back yard?  They send a guy to sit in the tree near you.  You get in a fight with your brother because he’s arguing that it must be a girl bluebird because it’s so fat, and he goes and gets some of his buddies.  The dog strays a little too close to something they like?  They’re divebombing her.

Until this, my experience with bluebirds has been limited to Disney movies, but I seem to recall them sitting on shoulders or resting on fingers or helping make dresses.

I do not recall any acting like tiny mafia members.

But, clearly, times have changed.

15 thoughts on “My Bluebird Theory

  1. Wow. You are like the bluebird whisperer. When i was young, I had this firm belief that seeing and hearing a solitary crow was a warning to me to somehow slightly alter my plans. I have no clue why, but I always did… even in my 20s as I hitchikked through Canada and Alaska. I guess I can thank some old crow for eventually finding tiny cat pants. F.

  2. The bluebirds here peck on our windows in the morning, its very annoying. We have a bluebird house near the driveway, so when they have babies, we can hear them chirping while sitting on the deck, very cool.

  3. I keep seeing mocking birds from the back and thinking for a moment that they’re bluebirds. But we seem to have only one real bluebird around here.

  4. are you sure you’re not talking about Blue Jays? There’s a difference. Blue Jays are VERY aggressive when in protection mode.

  5. No, a blue jay looks more like a blue cardinal, with the crest and all. These are like little blue finch type things with red and white bellies. They are for sure bluebirds. Just bluebirds who are, apparently, tired of being fucked with.

  6. I love bluebirds, you are very lucky. We had one around the neighborhood but rarely in our yard. I asked at Wild Birds Unlimited and they said bluebirds are fruit eaters, and also they like kinda open areas. So your yard probably has the right kind of food and habitat that they like. I think we have too many trees.

  7. Well, we have tons of stuff with berries on it–the holly, the privet, the privet, did I mention all the privet, the hackberry trees, etc. And we’re on the back side of the cow pasture, which is wide open. So, yeah, I think it’s ideal for them.

  8. My great grandfather said he used to see huge great flocks of bluebirds when he was a young man.

    And yes, I also have observed that Blue Jays are assholes.

  9. There’s a bluebird house on the side of my garden shed. On one especially cold and windy evening last winter I went out to fill up my bird feeders and noticed a bluebird sitting in the opening of the house. It was facing inward so it didn’t see me, but I figured it would fly away as soon as it heard me approaching. So I started talking to it from several yards away. “Fly away! Big scary human coming to put out food!” It didn’t move. I walked up to the shed and opened the door. The bluebird stayed put.

    Wondering if the poor creature had frozen to death in the opening of the house, I reached up and gently ran my index finger down its back. It fluttered its wings a little bit but remained there. Eventually I realized that this was a male bluebird and his mate was inside the house. He was using his own body to cover the opening, blocking the wind and trapping heat inside for her. And it was so important to him that he was willing to stand there and let the big scary human touch him. I’ve loved the little buggers ever since then.

  10. Uh, yeah. Totally divebombed me and the Butcher while we were having our “tearing-down-parts-of-the-shed-and-setting-them-on-fire” party. They never actually touched us — just close enough to say, “Hey — we’re up here, so you better watch out, busters.”

    Otherwise, they were quite pleasant to watch and listen to.

  11. I think your bluebirds have taken a page from the bluejay playbook and decided to kick ass and take names, and more power to them. Just warn the Tiny Cat and the Orange Cat, or at least keep a video camera handy so you can get footage that will win you enough to pay off the house note.

    Also, if you put your garden near the bluebird houses, the bluebirds will help keep the insect pests out of it. (The garden.) They nab the tiny varmints and feed them to those fat fat babies. All we had to put on our garden for years were a couple of shipments of ladybugs; the bluebirds kept everything else cleaned out, including cutworms off the tomatoes. We just had to cover the strawberries to keep the little hogs from eating them up too.

    We’d still have bluebirds if it weren’t for a) an evil neighbor cat who used to sit on top of the bluebird house and snatch them up them as they came out (even after I drove nails in the roof of the house, points up) and b) our resident red-tailed hawk, who’s pretty much put the kibosh on any active bird-feeding and bird-care in our yard.

    My neighbors are accustomed to seeing me waving at the bluebirds on the telephone line every time I make a round mowing the front yard; they divebomb the bugs that are stirred up by the mowing, and they teach their babies to hunt insects on the fly, too. It’s heartwarming to see the generations of bluebirds on the line — mom, dad, the babysitting teen-agers from the first clutch, the late-season clutch of little ones, and the occasional grandma and/or grandpa hanging out.

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