I picked up a couple new, premade boxes at "Fish and Game" just last week. A few years ago, the cat had killed the daddy of the pair of Westerns nesting in the box that I had used for a number of years. I found the daddy by the garage door and it broke my heart. The mama sat on the outside of the box all day waiting for the daddy to come home. Of course, he never came. It was one of the saddest things for me to watch. Eventually, she left the box leaving her family behind. The daddy is an important part of caring for his family and the mama couldn’t do it alone. Needless to say, there was death in that box and because of that, I believe, the bluebirds have never returned. After that season, we had carefully cleaned out the box knowing they otherwise wouldn’t revisit, but they still didn’t seem to come back.
So this year I decided to get new boxes. Matt put them up for me a couple days ago. I am very pleased with the job he did. He asked me where I wanted them placed in the yard and he took the time to get it just right. He made sure to put them on metal poles so that cats or predators can’t climb up to the box and get at the nest. And he made sure to place them so the nests will be protected from the wind and elements. I really want to be good stewards of these birds. Birders say once you know the joys of the bluebirds you will also know heartbreak and that is so very true. I have certainly known both. But that only makes one want to try all the harder to protect these beautiful song birds.
I couldn’t be any happier with the job my son has done in putting up my new boxes! He called me out to the back yard for my approval. As I was looking, I thought how cute it would be to plant flowers around the base of one of the boxes. I already had something that would work perfectly as a planter at the base. So he put that in place for me, as well. I can’t wait until it gets a little warmer so that I can plant some pretty flowers at the base of the box that will bloom all summer. If I plant too early, though, the plants will only freeze.
I finished some of the work I was doing in the yard and went back into the house. It hadn’t even been an hour yet, but when I looked out the picture window of my living room to admire the new boxes, there was a mama bluebird entering the hole of the box. The daddy flew around outside.
“Matthew!” I exclaimed. “You were just in time! They are already here!”
He knew exactly who I was talking about, and simply smiled at the crazy bird lady he has for a mom. I like to think it was good manners that prevented further comment from my son. ;-)
As for my bluebirds:
"His soft warble, beautiful blue coat, warm waistcoat, and gentle manners make him the most welcome herald of spring."- Birds of America, 1917