Saturday, February 6, 2010

How Bluebirds Communicate with People

We got a lot of snow last night. So much that the bell feeder was entirely covered. I was worried that the bluebird would not be able to find their food. However this morning they were flying in and eating to their hearts' content. After snapping my usual round of 20 or so pictures, I went about my business. A couple hours later, I noticed that the bluebirds were flying right up to my kitchen window and sitting on top of the feeder that sits at the window. This feeder has remained empty, since the invasion of the starlings. So to have them sit on top of the window feeder was really unusual. Each on would take a turn, fly up to the window and look in at me working in the kitchen. I didn't think too much about it until my youngest daughter said "Mommy they can't get to their food." I reminded her that I put out plenty of food for them and that they were going to be fine.

Walking by my sliding door I happened to look out and see that the lid of the bell feeder had slid down from the weight of the snow and they couldn't get to their food. I went outside, brushed off the snow and raised the lid. Before I could even finish, the bluebirds were flying back and sitting on the nest box waiting for me to finish. Once I fixed it, they started to eat and quit flying up to my window.

I have had experiences similar to this with tree swallows and hummingbirds, but this is the first time I have noticed the bluebirds actually trying to communicate with me.

I don't think I'm the bluebird whisperer or Dr. Doolittle, but I did find it interesting the bluebirds recognize me as a food source and where to find me. I see this as a very good thing, so that when they start laying eggs they will trust me.

I am interested to find out if others have had similar experiences and will be researching this further.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Starlings Stole My Bluebird's Food

Several days ago I mentioned the invasion of starlings. While it does not fix the problem entirely, I have discovered that using a bell feeder with the lid low does seem to deter them a bit. However the biggest deterrent is for me to stand at the window and scare them off anytime they come by. They are more easily frightened than the bluebirds. This is a video of my experience, very disheartening.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Some Birds Are Just Smarter Than the Rest

I have realized that when Bluebirds are hungry they will eat just about anything, even from the seed tube that normally would not interest them. If I am consistent with the food, then they tend to avoid the other feeders. However, I have had to be inconsistent on filling up the food. One day my husband and I had this great idea that we would video the bluebirds eating while we were gone. I filled the feeders and when we got home we discovered they were all empty. Much to my dismay when I viewed the video, most of the food had been stolen by starlings.

Those of you who know me, know I have no love loss for starlings. They are originally from Europe and were introduced into New York City back in 1890. They aggressively compete for food and nesting cavities with our native species of birds. We have the same problem with house sparrows, also not native to the United States, but makeup over 50% of our bird population.

My first nest of bluebirds was lost to house sparrows. While the parents were out looking for food, a male came by pecked the babies on the heads and threw them out of the nest box. I would not have believed it had I not witnessed it myself. In tears I called my husband at work and told him what happened. That night he came home with my first bluebird feeder and I have been trying to help with their conservation ever since. My goal is to eventually become licensed in bluebird rehabilitation.

I hope you enjoy the photos I've posted. The bluebirds continue to come back even if I am not as consistent with the food. However the starlings seem to forget where they found food if I don't put it out at the same each day.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Hoping For New Neighbors

Even amidst all the snow the bluebirds have still been coming back to see what I have for them. It is rather funny. If I have not put food out yet, they just sit on the bird pole and watch in my kitchen window. I think have figured out where the food comes from and are getting used to seeing movement inside the house.

They are also hanging out on the bird house, but no one has ventured in yet. I keep hoping that one of the couples decides they need a new home. If I can get them to establish themselves, hopefully they will be more likely to defend their home against predators. I have done as much as I can to protect it with a baffle, halo and easy access to food. So only time will tell how successful this plan will be.

My dog Sophie doesn't even mind that the birds come around. She does get a little uptight when they land on the ground and get close to the sliding glass door. I suppose a 6 1/2" bird can look a little threatening when you are only 10" tall.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Meal Worms Are Not Just For Breakfast Anymore

I am very excited. My husband just won a new camera, so now I can photograph the bluebirds to my heart's content. I am sure they are wondering why this person who feed them is constantly holding a little silver box up to the window. However, that is the great thing about bluebirds, they are pretty accepting of most things.

I thought I would sleep in this morning and came downstairs around 10 to empty feeders. Right now I have two couples hanging out, and they certainly eat their weight in food. If I wasn't awake before, I certainly was when I stepped outside to refill their mini buffet of meal worms and craisins.