Skip navigation

Tag Archives: bluebirds

Sky and I got away for three days last week. The weather continues to be fairly cool, well cold, most days. The dog water froze outside each night and I was grateful for a working heater in the camper. We walked and walked and walked and saw a fair number of deer. There was one otter that entertained me for an afternoon. We also saw a skunk on one of our rambles in the hills. Luckily, I saw it before it saw us! I identified 64 bird species and am sure I missed some whose songs I didn’t recognize. We had a fine campsite overlooking a small lake with a variety of waterfowl and one lone swan. There were numerous buttercups in bloom and one Astragulus and some tiny lomatiums. The snow had just finished melting and while we were there, we had one impressive snow squall that left the hills white til the sun came out again. Mountain Bluebirds were everywhere! Red-winged Blackbirds, American Robins and Canada Geese woke us each morning with their songs and calls.

Here is my bird list for the three days:

Canada Goose 

Tundra Swan 

Wood Duck 

American Wigeon 

Mallard 

Green-winged Teal 

Ring-necked Duck 

Greater Scaup 

Bufflehead 

Barrow’s Goldeneye 

Hooded Merganser 

Common Merganser 

California Quail 

Ruffed Grouse 

Dusky Grouse 

Pied-billed Grebe 

Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) 

Eurasian Collared-Dove 

Mourning Dove 

Virginia Rail 

American Coot 

Turkey Vulture 

Osprey 

Northern Harrier 

Red-tailed Hawk 

Great Horned Owl 

Belted Kingfisher 

Red-naped Sapsucker 

Downy Woodpecker 

Pileated Woodpecker 

Northern Flicker 

American Kestrel 

Say’s Phoebe 

Black-billed Magpie 

American Crow 

Common Raven 

Black-capped Chickadee 

Mountain Chickadee 

Northern Rough-winged Swallow 

Tree Swallow 

Violet-green Swallow 

Ruby-crowned Kinglet 

Red-breasted Nuthatch 

Pygmy Nuthatch 

Brown Creeper 

Bewick’s Wren 

American Dipper 

European Starling 

Western Bluebird 

Mountain Bluebird 

American Robin 

House Finch 

Cassin’s Finch 

Pine Siskin 

Chipping Sparrow 

Fox Sparrow 

Dark-eyed Junco 

White-crowned Sparrow 

Song Sparrow 

Spotted Towhee 

Western Meadowlark 

Red-winged Blackbird 

Brewer’s Blackbird 

Yellow-rumped Warbler 

Or maybe it should be End of Winter Birds or Blues. Spring doesn’t begin til Sunday in the northern hemisphere. We still have some snow on the ground but it is decreasing everyday. Say’s Phoebes and Violet-green Swallows are here along the Western and Mountain Bluebirds, Western Meadowlarks and the Dusky Grouse are making appearances too. Here are a few bluebirds and a Western Meadowlark from recent walks on our hill

Speaking of motherhood, and fatherhood, a pair of Mountain Bluebirds has chosen one of our nest boxes to set up housekeeping. This is very exciting! Normally both Mountain and Western Bluebirds nest reasonably far away from our house so we see them only on our walks or at the bird bath. The box they’ve chosen is attached to the bottom of our deck and easily seen from inside the house and from the porch so we get to see them often. The Violet-green Swallows who have traditionally used this box are not happy.

The girls and I enjoyed a good hike in the hills on Saturday.

Spring is the time to clean out the nest boxes around here. We enjoy the birds year ’round and especially like to have secure places for them to nest and raise their young before moving on. Violet-green Swallows and Tree Swallows, Mountain and Western Bluebirds are all nesting birds we like to encourage. Unfortunately we have learned that the diminutive House Wrens will wreak havoc on other nesting birds, especially the swallows. The tiny wrens will fill a box with sticks, even if there is already another nest present and they’ve been know to attack and kill the bigger swallows. It’s a tough world out there.

 

Fence post yard art

 

Pulling out an old swallow nest

 

The Mountain Chickadees followed us and kept up a running dialogue on our efforts

 

Ken points to a tiny skeleton of a baby bird that did not fledge

 

Here is a beautiful swallow nest lined with soft feathers. The adults collect these feathers to provide a cushy setting for the eggs and babies.

 

There’s one of those chickadees. They do not use our nest boxes for nesting although they do use them for winter night roosts.

 

 

 More yard art, this time in the snow

 

This tiny chickadee must have been sick and died over the winter in one of the boxes.

 

%d bloggers like this: