Sometimes Feeling Blue Is Great!
Friday, April 30, 2010 | Author: eventer79
Friday Fun Fact is back!

There is a special little bird that I can hear outside my office window right now, so today, the little creature that never fails to make me smile just by appearing gets to be the center of WWWT attention.

You've probably seen the unfailingly charming eastern bluebird and even heard its distinctive song without knowing it. Its cheerful burble is hard to miss once you know it and these dapper little birds are often found perching on fence and power lines at dusk, watching for the perfect moment to swoop out and grab an insect meal.

They are dedicated parents, spending as many as 20 days carefully raising their chicks after hatching. Bluebirds also exhibit what is called philopatry, where one chick may remain with the parents after fledging and help to raise the next brood of chicks in an admirable show of sibling support.

In the late 70's, these little gems were declared a rare species; their populations were demolished by a combination of several harsh winters, pesticide use to curtail fire ants, and competition from invasive species. Bluebirds require a cavity to nest in; given that they are not a woodpecker, they cannot excavate their own and thus must rely on the available holes in their territory. Non-native invaders like house sparrows and starlings will fight and even kill a bluebird to steal away a lucrative nest site and as a result, our azure native's reproductive success plummeted.

Campaigns to encourage the installation of bluebird boxes across this animal's range have resulted in a population rebound throughout much of its former habitat. Bring a smile to your backyard today by hanging one in YOUR habitat. You can build your own or order from many sources, including this deluxe edition from Amazon.com (OH! I WANT it!).  Here are some great directions on how to install it for maximum benefit to the birds.
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3 comments:

On May 1, 2010 at 8:44 AM , Wolfie said...

I hail from Nova Scotia originally and as a child in the '60's, I used to see these beautiful birds regularly. The memory of these birds stayed with me and I told my husband about them. A couple of years ago, he brought me back a hand-painted picture of a Bluebird from a visit to N.S. He had a heck of a time finding anything Bluebird related. The people that my husband was visiting in N.S. had never heard of the Bluebird! They are so rare now. They are forgotten. How sad. Encouraging people to put up nesting boxes is a great idea.

 
On May 8, 2010 at 9:53 AM , Once Upon an Equine said...

Timely post! My husband and I were just talking this morning about putting up some bluebird boxes. Thanks for the info on the nest boxes. We've got western & mountain bluebirds in our area, I think. I love birds of all kinds.

 
On May 14, 2010 at 9:15 PM , eventer79 said...

TWO kinds of bluebirds!!? I am so jealous! And Wolfie, you just need to come visit us down south and get a good bluebird fix!!!