Sunday, October 31, 2010


We were delighted to discover shortly after our move in late March that this is an area where the Eastern Bluebird thrives.
Bluebirds were seriously threatened during the years that DDT was in regular use.

Bluebirds were not rare during my Vermont childhood, but sightings of them were infrequent enough to be remarked upon.

A regular feature on our breakfast table when I was a child was a can of Bluebird Orange Juice.
The paper label had a chirpy line-up of cartoon bluebirds: Papa [with a necktie] Mama bird [apron] a Sister and Brother bird with appropriate props and Baby Bird with bonnet and bib.
Each morning I stared at the juice can birds, sounding out the words printed below each little picture.
I sipped at the orange juice, wishing that the taste could live up to the attractive packaging.
{Not that I could have articulated this thought at age 4, but I knew I was hoping for anything that would make the juice go down smoothly, since my Mother was determined that it was necessary for the health and well-being of her family.}
The fact is, orange juice, regardless of the brand or variety doesn't agree with me--nasty, burpy, acid stuff--and not improved by living on the refridgerator shelf overnite in the opened tin can!

Our dooryard bluebirds kept to themselves during the long hot summer.
It has been a pleasant surprise these past two weeks to find that a whole family of them is still very much a presence.  They have seemed interested in the birdhouse which J. installed in the unidentified tree in the front yard [the one occupied by a tree swallow during the summer.]
The birds have clear sweet voices and their trills follow me as I walk to the barn to visit the kittens, or work in the garden.

Bluebird sunning on the electric wire near the magnolia tree.
I don't know how long they will stay with us as cold weather comes.
A quick internet search suggests that bluebirds feed largely on insects, a diet which can be supplemented in winter with soaked and softened raisins, and "mealworms" available from on-line suppliers.
The variety of shrubs planted around our house suggests that the previous owner was a bird-lover who chose many plants producing winter berries and seeds.
Does it stand to reason that birds who accept plumped raisins might adapt to the fruits on offer?
We have rose hips, nandina berries, poke berries, grapes which dried on the vines---what more might a bluebird want?


  1. What lovely birds and photos. Great news that they are recovering from the DDT years and that you have some nesting on your land.

  2. Hi MM, I meant to find you something in the style of Elizabeth Goudge prose, but forgot, so instead to return to all the puss cats that live on your blog and stare expectantly out at me; this nursery rhyme came unexpectedly to mind ;)

    Pussy cat, pussy cat,
    Where have you been?
    I've been to London
    To look at the Queen,
    Pussy cat, pussy cat
    What did you there?
    I frightened a little mouse
    under her chair!

  3. BB: I am so pleased to have teh bluebirds and to renew my acquaintence with cardinals and bluejays--New England birds which I missed during those 12 years in WY. [Now I can miss the Flickers and the great-horned owls!]

    Thelma: I remember that rhyme from a lovely brown-covered book of nursey rhymes that was given to me as a very young child.
    Your comment has me pondering Elizabeth Goudge and the pet "characters" who appear in her stories. I think she must have been mainly a dog lover. The cats mentioned are rather incidental where-as the dogs such as Pooh-Bah and The Bastard are personalities in their own right.