Sunday, June 05, 2011

The Bluebirds of Happiness

Bluebird eggs May 1, 2011

At the beginning of May, when Bill and I left for our weeklong strip South, mama bluebird had just laid five perfectly oval blue eggs in the bluebird box in our backyard.  I was worried that the eggs wouldn't be there when we got back.  Last year when we left for our trip South, we left four young bluebirds in the box but when we came back the baby bluebirds and the next were gone, pulled out by the bored eight year old son of the Hispanic man who mowed our neighbor's lawn.  I vividly remember how angry, sad and disappointed I was that the stupid, mindless, thoughtless act of an unsupervised child destroyed a whole nest of baby bluebirds.  Especially after all the difficulty I had with keeping the sparrows out of that bluebird house.  The previous two years mama and papa bluebird had raised two sets of young bluebirds each season.  Last year they never came back.

Our Bluebird box in our backyard - home to generations of bluebirds

Thus it was with some apprehension that I left for vacation this year.  One thing, my neighbor no longer employed the Hispanic man to mow his lawn.  That kid is probably off somewhere else destroying something because of his bored curiosity.  I prefer not to think about it.

What was also ironic, that the bluebirds laid their eggs just as I was to begin a busy month of activity.  I knew once I returned from our trip south I would be working full-time at the hotel, until the new front desk clerk was trained.

I was very relieved when we returned from our trip and I saw that the bluebird nest was unharmed.  Mama and papa bluebird faithfully feed their young ones all day, every day.  In the past their were only four eggs so I could open the bluebird box and observe and record their growth.  This year, perhaps to make up for last year, mama and papa bluebird laid FIVE eggs in the tiny bluebird box.  I was able to open the bluebird box a few week before they got too big then I had to observe from afar.  I didn't want to take a chance of one of the baby bluebirds falling out of the box when I opened it.

Freshly hatched baby bluebirds

Growing baby bluebirds - the last time I opened the box to observe

Then yesterday, as I returned home from my last full-time shift at the hotel, I walked over to the bluebird box to see if I could still see a baby bluebird's mouth sticking out of the entrance to the bluebird box.  Much to my surprise (and delight), the bluebird box was empty!  The baby bluebirds were out.

Empty nest yesterday - they're gone!

Now wasn't that the perfect metaphor for my past month of hectic activity?  I began the month with the freshly laid bluebird eggs and ending the month with the baby bluebirds now having their freedom.  Just like me, I now have my freedom.

I love my job and hope to work at it as long as I can but I also want the freedom of enjoying and participating in my summertime activities.  I can't do that stuck behind the front desk at the hotel six days a week (then recovering the seventh day).  I am so happy to get back to my normal routine.  I'm back!


  1. Such a cool post! Isn't nature wonderful?

  2. I love nature, I love birds... These blue eggs are just beautiful.
    I have been glued to the screen watching the eaglets
    They are almost grown and ready to fly in a couple of weeks. The parents have been so diligent and gentle taking care of them, I am in awe as well as 130 millions people watching nature do its thing.

  3. Cubby,
    Thank you. Interacting with nature is perhaps my favorite activity. It is the only one in which I get a complete sense of fulfillment.

  4. Nadege,

    I too love nature. I could spend the rest of my life in my backyard and be totally happy. I may just do that.

  5. Are you now suffering from empty nest syndrome?

  6. Dr. Spo,

    I cleaned out the box. The bluebirds will be back to build a second nest and raise a second batch of blue birds. They raise two a season. After the second batch leave the nest is when I really feel the empty nest syndrome.

  7. Kids!

    That gives me an idea...perhaps I'll put in a birdhouse. I have feeders but hadn't thought of a house. Hmmm.

  8. Ron, in your honor, I would beat my kids senseless if they ever did something like that little boy did. Actually, I would do it for the fun of it but it would serve the same purpose.
    Your Friend, m.

  9. Rick,

    Definitely put up a bluebird house. It is such a great feeling when you know that your action is responsible but the birth of new bluebirds. I cleaned out the bluebird house yesterday. Mama and papa bluebird were back at the bluebird house today. They're going to raise another batch. I also have a purple martin house. The purple martins come back every year. I love hearing all the racket they make in their six apartments raising their young. This is my favorite part of summer.

  10. Mark,

    I know "kid will be kids" but this is something I never would have done if I was that kid's age. I knew that kid was a problem because we observed him before when his father brought him along on his job of mowing my neighbor's lawn. The kid is hyper active. I guess I can't blame the kid completely but it was so mad. I confronted the father about it. Actually, I blasted him, which isn't my style. The next time he came up to mow my neighbor's lawn, his kid stayed in the truck the whole time. This year they're not doing my neighbor's lawn. Just as well.

  11. Such a reaffirming post! I surprised that you are able to touch the bird house and still have the parents come back. I guess that's just a myth.

  12. Sean,

    I believe that is a myth that if you touch a bird house or bird nest, that the parents won't come back. I frequently check but I try to disturb as little as possible. With the bluebird house this year, five baby bluebirds in the house made it impossible for me to open the door after the second week. Swallows are making a nest in the box now.

  13. I think it's great how you enjoy your backyard and provide housing for so many birds. I've never done anything like that. I have quite a few Humming birds flying around. Their favorite bush got frozen all the way to the ground in January and is having a hard time making a come back. Poor Hummers seem to check on it every day. Hope they stay around till it blooms....~Don

  14. Don,
    One of my greatest joys is providing a sanctuary for my feathered friends. We lived on 6.875 acres of wooded land in Pennsylvania and I provided bird friendly backyard for 25 years. We frequently visit that property now and I have the feeling that the birds miss us, especially in the winter when I used to provide feed for them. The only birds that I feed here are the hummingbirds. I just put out another feeder because there were so many humming birds at my one feeder.


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