A new year

IMG_6702Carolyn and I took a cue from some of our feathered friends and migrated south for a few weeks to avoid some of the winter.   Enjoyed some great birding along the Lower Rio Grande Valley.  You can see some of my photos on flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/reddirtpics/sets/72157639453501305/

Mama on the favorite backyard perch.  Click to enlarge.

We left at Christmas and returned the first week in February to bitter winter cold with highs in the teens and single digit lows at night.  My neighbor kept the birds fed while I was gone.  But, I didn’t see the bluebirds for six days after we returned.  A little doubt crept into my mind.  Had they moved on due to the cold?  Some bluebirds migrate, but usually not those in Central Oklahoma.  I tend to regard these bluebirds as my backyard pets, but they are wild creatures and free to do as they wish.

Then one morning I looked out and Daddy II was sitting on his favorite perch.  Mama   II IMG_6459came in just a few minutes later.   They have been in the yard every morning since for their

Daddy showed up on Feb. 11.

breakfast of mealworms.  The past few days have been warm and they are showing more interest in the nestbox.  The other birds seem to come to the feeders in waves and this often brings in the bluebirds.  I think it’s because they see the birds near their nestbox and come in to make sure no one is thinking about taking their home.

As we start a new year hosting bluebirds, I’d like to reflect back on our experience.  Our original Mama and Daddy were with us for five years.  Then in the summer of 2012, Mama was looking very thin and haggard and eventually didn’t show up with Daddy.  I assume she was no longer alive because the two were inseparable.  It didn’t take Daddy long to find a new young honey– our current female, Mama II.  But after a few weeks Daddy was a no show and I assume he was gone, too.  Could have been old age, a hawk or whatever.  The female stayed around alone and shortly found a mate, Daddy II.  They raised three broods in 2013 and had one clutch of eggs destroyed by a sparrow.

Spring is in the air this week and the bluebirds seem to sense it.  Hopefully it will be a good season for the bluebirds and we can put a few more babies on this reddirt hill.


About lindell dillon

Lindell Dillon is retired and lives in Norman, OK. He grew up in Duncan, attended Cameron College and graduated from the University of Oklahoma. His interests include photography, nature, birding, and investing. Oklahoma Master Naturalist, alumnus Norman Police Department Citizens Academy.
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4 Responses to A new year

  1. SHARI HAARALA says:

    I have a new pair of mockingbirds and it seems as if my bluebirds, chickadees, nuthatches, and woodpeckers don’t come around anymore (or not as much). I know mockers are protected, but how can I humanely get them to leave? HELP

    • lindell dillon says:

      I have mockingbirds around and they don’t have much conflict with the bluebirds. Unless you have seen the mockers actively attacking other birds, then their disappearance is due to something else. It’s not nesting time in most of the country, so I doubt your mockers are protecting a nest.

  2. Charley says:

    Dear lindell dillon,

    I was hoping you may be able to point me to a photo or video of a flock of bluebirds in flight.
    Thank you so much.

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