I never hear any euphemisms regarding Leap Day, even though it occurs only once every four years. Leap Day should be significant, so I’m filing a bluebird report. I hear about ‘blue moons’ all the time and they occur more often than Leap Day. Many people use the term ‘blue moon’, but most don’t seem to know what one is. Most years have twelve full moons that occur approximately monthly. In addition to those twelve full lunar cycles, each solar calendar year contains roughly eleven days more than the lunar year of 12 lunations. The extra days accumulate, so every two or three years (7 times in the 19-year Metonic cycle), there is an extra full moon. Now that we have that all sorted out, we’ll make entries in the Bluebird Diary more than ‘once in a blue moon’ that has been the practice over the winter.
The weather in the month of February this year was the mildest in recent memory. Pretty easy on the non-migratory birds. Still not a lot to report on the bluebirds. They visit the yard several times daily and have their mealworm breakfast every morning. I’ve heard from some folks hosting bluebirds that their birds are carrying around pieces of grass and doing a little false nesting, but haven’t seen Mama or Daddy doing this. As nesting season neared, Daddy ran off the two sons that spent the winter here. I haven’t seen them in a couple of weeks.
Last summer’s nemesis has returned. I haven’t seen the mockingbirds around all winter, but they are around the house and the male and Daddy are sorting out who owns the back yard. Daddy has dive-bombed the mocker enough that he no longer considers the nest box his perching place. I’m guessing the mockingbirds will nest in the honeysuckle again and they and the bluebirds will mostly stay on opposite sides of my small back yard. Makes feeding mealworms to the bluebirds a little more difficult, though. Basically, I wait until they are around their feeder to take worms out and have to remain outside while they eat them to keep the mockingbirds away. There is some benefit in having the mockers around– they are excellent lookouts for hawks and sparrows and actively chase them away.
The cute little concrete birdbath we bought just last summer, didn’t survive the winter. The freezing and thawing has cracked it to the point it won’t hold water. I tried patching it a couple of times and it still leaks, so I bought another one yesterday. It’s a bright ceramic blue, thought Mama would appreciate the color. One time she wove a strand of blue ribbon into a nest, the only material other than grass I’ve ever seen in one of her nests. Most bird baths are too deep for birds to get down in them so I’ve placed some rocks in this one to make it easier for the birds to splash.
Click photos to enlarge.
I expect we will see some nesting activity soon. Last year I observed the first signs of nest building on 14 March. Just a couple of weeks away and the weather is mild. I have more bluebird pics on my flickr stream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/reddirtpics/ There is a bluebird set and also a Nature in Hallbrooke set that shows many of the bluebirds’ neighbors.