For at least 15 years a pair of eastern bluebirds showed up around the end of March, perched on the old locust fence post here beside my yard and began exploring its hollow interior by gaining entry through a small knothole there near the top and facing south. We called it bluebird condo because the feathered friends found it so attractive.
I don’t mean to imply that bluebirds live to be 15 because we know for sure that we have not had the same pair year in and year out even though we are pretty sure that we had one couple that came back from the South four years in a row to set up housekeeping in our post.
The thing about bluebirds is that when you get up close and personal with them you notice distinctive facial expressions and subtle coloration about the throat that let you know who is who and whether or not you’ve seen a particular bird before.
They also have unique personalities. Bluebirds, I have found, can be a lot like your neighbors up and down the road. You may have the quarrelsome couple in one house and the pair that would gladly bring you peaches every day and share all the local gossip if you care to listen.
You may have bullies and wife beaters, sweethearts or strangers, snobs or just average neighbors, but when you have a pair or two of eastern bluebirds nesting on your premises you know that life is good and wonderful and something about the world is right. And you get over being ticked off at their peculiar idiosyncrasies.
You decide to live and let live and simply enjoy the company as best you can.
And I do so love the company of bluebirds in the spring even if they have personal problems.
But, anyway, the fence post took a beating during the ice storm a few years back and what was a knothole turned into a pothole and then into a gaping wound. The bluebirds don’t even glance at it these days. Grackles (my good friend Little Tommy Miller calls them witch birds) use it as place to light and poop and gurgle and stare me down. As emotions go, I absolutely hate and despise starlings and grackles almost as much as I love bluebirds and robins and cardinals and wrens.
In the meantime, I have erected half a dozen of socalled bluebird boxes on trees, fence posts, and piles of brick around our place and every year we have at least one pair of takers. We also have chipping sparrows who manage to get into the houses, but they stay put until the bluebirds have a chance to case out the real estate. I love chipping sparrows, too, because they will sometimes light on my thumb and eat oatmeal out of my hand and that is a thrill beyond describing.
This year, in the far corner of the back yard we have mounted, on a treated fence post that helps to separate us from the neighboring farm, a nice little bluebird house that is mostly plywood and created by a 4-H kid with time on her hands. It is not the prettiest or fanciest place in the world, but in bluebird circles, it is the talk of the town.
And at this writing a nice young couple are gathering up furniture from the fields nearby and proceeding to set up housekeeping. Their feathers are so ultra blue and their chests so brilliant orange that I am almost sure they are newlyweds.
Wow! I love spring of the year. And I so love bluebirds.