I’ve been getting quite a few emails about bluebirds lately. I see that as a good sign about the rebounding eastern bluebird population.
Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s AllAboutBirds.com, my go-to website for information about North American birds, says the eastern bluebird is a species of “low concern.” The site reads, “Eastern Bluebird populations fell in the early twentieth century as aggressive introduced species such as European Starlings and House Sparrows made available nest holes increasingly difficult for bluebirds to hold on to. In the 1960s and 1970s, establishment of bluebird trails and other nest-box campaigns alleviated much of this competition, especially after people began using nest boxes designed to keep out the larger European Starling. Eastern Bluebird numbers have been recovering since.”
In recent years, I have proclaimed our coldest season as the Winter of … whatever bird is being seen in unusually high numbers that winter. I remember the Winter of the Snowy Owl in 2014 and the Winter of the Barred Owl in 2019 (that winter was crazy with all the owls being seen throughout New England.) Juncos and robins have also made the list.
But this year, for the second time in three years, it has to be the Winter of the Bluebird. It is the first repeat selection. I should probably mention here that this is strictly my own proclamation based on my personal experiences and emails received from readers. There is absolutely nothing scientific about this.
I’ve seen bluebirds in a variety of locations this winter. I haven’t been lucky enough to attract them to my house, but I have received several emails from readers who have seen bluebirds in their yards. Many readers have sent along photos, which I appreciate and post to my blog.
Here are a few more eastern bluebird photos I managed to get in addition to the one I used to support my last column, which may be found here. It appears to be another good year for seeing bluebirds this New England winter as I’ve heard from several readers who have seen these beauties.
We don’t usually think of eastern bluebirds as a winter bird in New England, but many bluebirds tough out our cold months. Visits from or sightings of bluebirds brighten the short winter days, for sure. Here’s a collection of photos of bluebirds in the snow.
I hadn’t seen bluebirds at my feeder since May, but back they came earlier this week. They stayed for about 10 minutes and were gone. I haven’t seen them since. I had a few other surprise visitors to the feeder this week. More on that Continue reading →
I have been seeing an eastern bluebird pair at my feeders daily since February. I’m in a fairly wooded area and there are no open fields (bluebird’s preferred nesting area) in the neighborhood. I assumed it was a young pair that wasn’t breeding this year as it was well into the nesting season and they were still visiting daily.
To my pleasant surprise, yesterday the pair showed up with a youngster. It is a noisy and demanding little bluebird. The parents are dutiful in feeding it. I still don’t know exactly where they nested but I’m happy to still see them every day, especially with a youngster in tow. I’ve also seen them in the woods behind my house catching natural prey so, thankfully, they are not relying solely on my mealworm handouts. It’s also nice to see that it is indeed a bluebird youngster and not a cowbird as I’ve seen plenty of those around this spring.
Yes, my bluebirds at still hanging around. I still have two males and one female coming around daily. I got this shot toward the end of the day.
Could I really be posting a snow photo this weekend? I hope the weather people are wrong, but it’s possible.
(Repeat text for context: I’m running out of COVID-19 lockdown themes so from now until things get back to some semblance of normalcy, I will simply post my best photo from the previous day. You could say it fits because of its uncertainty and challenge. I’ll call the series “A Day on Merganser Lake,” even though that’s not the real name of the lake I live near in southwestern Connecticut, it’s just a nod to my favorite duck family.)