Jim Williams has been watching birds and writing about their antics since before "Gilligan's Island" went into reruns. Join him for his unique insights, his everyday adventures and an open conversation about the birds in your back yard and beyond.

Bluebirds back in force

Posted by: Jim Williams under Bird biology, Bird migration, Birds in the backyard Updated: March 17, 2012 - 6:44 PM

 The pair of Eastern Bluebirds in our backyard yesterday was a most unexpected sighting, the first in our eight years here. This is a fairly wooded neighborhood, our lot backed by a swamp. But there they were, exploring one of our Wood Duck nest boxes. I promptly pulled a bluebird box used annually by House Wrens from its thicket location, and posted it near the duck box. The bluebirds were on it in a few minutes. They were back today. Nesting here would be odd, but then this is an odd year. This morning, taking that sighting as good notice, I took a grandson and drove my nest-box route on the neighborhood golf course where I tend 40 boxes. We drove as in golf cart, a nine-year-old at the wheel. No one else was on the course, so liability was small. We found seven pairs of bluebirds, which is about half of the number I'd expect to nest there in a season. I'll watch closely to see if they actually begin nesting now. That would put them way ahead of the usual hatch time for the insects they feed the young birds. Are bluebirds -- are any of the species returning early -- ready for this?

We saw a Merlin, and several Killdeer. And on Holy Name Lake just north of County Road 24 in Medina we found a dozen White-fronted Geese. I suggested to Cole (grandson) that he keep a list of our sightings. He listed 24 species, including a goat and a donkey. Below, a pair of Eastern Bluebirds. I have no photos of goats or donkeys.

 

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