Sunday, February 6, 2011
Yesterday I was fortunate to get close to a flock of bluebirds that has been visiting my neighborhood. They have a circuit of cedar trees and rose bushes that they fly back and forth to in search of food. The cedar berries and rose hips are particularly helpful to bluebirds in the cold winter months. One of my neighbors has also started to put out meal worms for them.
With the threat of a coming storm, all species of birds were busy eating as much food as they could. The bluebirds were flocking together with robins, cardinals, goldfinches, titmice, nuthatches, sparrows, a pine siskin and a small army of squirrels.
I was thrilled to be able to get close enough to make a decent image of the bluebirds. They are a particularly wary species and it can be a challenge to get near them. I stood about ten feet from some cedar trees and patiently waited for them to fly to the trees. After about an hour, they had traveled their circuit about four or five times. Then they began to congregate at my neighbors house where they were finding free meal worms.
The bluebird is one of my favorite species. When I was a kid, they were fairly rare. Their numbers had been decimated due to loss of habitat and the use of pesticides. Today there numbers are increasing and they can be found much more easily in Southeastern Massachusetts.
I still remember the first time I saw a bluebird. I was hiking through Pratt Farm, a local park in Middleboro, with my best friend Ben. We were in high school and would go fishing at every opportunity. As we were passing through a meadow in the late afternoon, a tiny electric blue bird buzzed by us. Then a few more went by. We stared at each other and wonderd what they were. Both of us were familiar with the common birds of the area and neither of us had seen this kind of bird before. After a moment's consideration, we decided that they were bluebirds. To this day I am still fascinated by their brilliant blue plumage!