Friday, May 29, 2009

A Flash of Blue

I have been seeing a flash of blue here and there since early Spring...
I am so excited to report that a family of bluebirds is finally nesting in the box at the side of the house. Each year I have watched this box only to be disappointed. But this year, they arrived. They built a little nest and have been coming and going. I had planned on moving this box before any birds had a chance to nest in it. The previous owners of the farm had placed the box here, but ideally a bluebird box should be on a metal or smooth wood pole. This keeps the likelihood of rat snakes eating the eggs or young to a minimum. Rat snakes are notorious climbers and this tree is no problem to overcome. Another pitfall of placing this box on a tree is lice. I found this out the hard way while trying to see if eggs or young birds were in the box. I carefully placed my camera up to the hole, snapped a photo, and noticed all the dirt on my lens. Oh no, I thought, that's not dirt. It is moving. Hundreds of bird lice. My camera is perched in a nice tight zip lock until I can figure out how to remove the insects from inside my lens. This was all rather disgusting and I cannot imagine how the bluebirds have overcome this problem if they were successful with eggs this year. I can only hope that either the eggs are yet to be laid or they laid early and have already fledged. I will be monitoring this box constantly over the next few days to see if the parents are still coming and going. If I do not see them soon, I will get into the box and get it cleaned out. De-licing a bird box is not top on my list of favorite things to do but knowing that it is infested is going to drive me crazy. It needs another coat of paint and I will do that at the same time. So one bluebird family is getting their Spring cleaning a bit late, but hopefully they will still be able to lay another clutch before it becomes too warm. They certainly are beautiful and I would like to see a lot more of them around!

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