"Language, as well as the faculty of speech, was the immediate gift of God." ~ Noah Webster

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Mountains are Home

I saw the first bluebird of the season a day or two ago. They are early this year; but it is no wonder with the mild winter we have enjoyed, and the early spring that seemed to arrive even before winter began.

As soon as I saw the little female bluebird, I sent Matt out to clean the boxes for me and get them ready for the little families that will soon be coming. It won't be long before we will have Western Bluebirds and we will have Mountain Bluebirds. The Mountains are my favorite. Maybe, because they are our state bird; but more likely they are my favorite because they are such a reminder of my childhood. Growing up, we were always able to see the Mountain Bluebirds where we lived. As the area grew and more and more houses sprung up, we no longer saw the little birds. When my own family moved to our current home, our area was a favorite spot for both the Mountains and the Westerns. For me, it was like coming home to see these birds in my yard; and I might add with the melodious warble of the meadowlark in the background.

I also favor the Mountain Bluebird over the Western I believe, because they are usually the underdog. When competing for a box, it will usually be the Western that wins, being just a bit more aggressive than the Mountain. Once, a Mountain has nested however, there will be no battle that little mama won't win. And daddy will be right there with her. When the little ones are ready to fly, we will watch with rapt attention and protection. The bluebird family will stay together for the duration of the season.

I will never forget the first year we were in our new home. I was at the kitchen window the day mama decided the babies were ready to fly. I counted 4 small males that flew that morning. As I was watching these little guys find their wings, I saw one fly into the side of our house. He was a bit stunned for a minute, but he was soon OK. To my horror, I also saw my dog, Bella pick one up in her mouth as he landed in the yard for a bit of a rest after his first attempt at flight. I ran out the door yelling at Bella to drop the baby bird, which thankfully she did. Fortunately, Bella did not puncture the baby, but his wing seemed a bit twisted. I straightened the wing, and put the little bird directly under the box that was in our field. At the time, I wasn't sure the family would come back to the box, but that was all I could think to do. Just a few minutes later, I saw that one of the awkward fledglings had flown into our garage, as the garage door had been left open. There he was sitting on top of the garage door opener, obviously scared to death. Matt got a ladder and the little bird let him pick him up in his hands. We put this little guy back under the box where we had put the other young fledgling.

We had an appointment that morning and so we had to leave directly. I hated to leave, but we had done all we could. As I was backing out of the driveway, I saw the daddy hover over the spot where we had laid the inexperienced babies. They say these birds won't hover, but that is the only word I can use to explain his actions. It looked like hovering to me. I took great comfort in knowing that daddy knew where his babies were.

When we arrived home from our appointment, I ran out to the field to see if the nestlings were still where we had put them. They were both gone...I looked around the box to see if they had wandered anywhere around the box. They were not there.

The Lord blessed us greatly that year, to allow us to see that there were four young male birds fly out of the box that spring day. We watched a family of 6 (five males and one female) for the rest of the summer make their home around our yard. I believe the Lord allowed us to be there to aid the little family and He allowed us to see the "fruit of our labor" for the rest of the summer. It was awesome!

The next year, we changed the direction of that particular box, so when the nestlings are ready to fly they won't be flying directly into our yard. Every year we look forward to the arrival of these delightful creatures of God's creation. I think some of my friends and family think I am "a bit over the top" when it comes to these birds. I never thought I would become a "bird lady", never fully understanding birders. But I can't help it; I love watching the bluebirds, not only because they are so beautiful, but because for me they represent coming home.

The mountains are God's majestic thoughts.

The stars are God's brilliant thoughts.
The flowers are God's beautiful thoughts.
~Robert Stuart MacArthur

And if I may add:
The birds are God's joyful thoughts.

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