This pair of Western Bluebirds showed up a few days ago. They have not yet started building a nest. It seems like they are having a hard time choosing between this box and another one nearby. Maybe when the inclement weather subsides they will become more amorous and start building their nest. Many Mountain Bluebirds in other areas have already completed their nests.
This is why birds go south for the winter
The North American Bluebird Society has an annual meeting every year at various cities in North America. This year, 2014, Boise, ID was chosen for the second time as host city. The first time was in 1994. The meeting was sponsored by Wild Lens Inc. assisted by the Golden Eagle Audubon Society. Matt Podolski, the gentleman at the extreme left, is President of Wild Lens. Sherry Linn, the lady standing fifth from the right, is President of NABS. Others in the photo are bluebirders from many of the states throughout the U.S.
Two of our field trips were to Prairie and the Owyhees. We observed both Mountain and Western bluebirds which were life birds for many of the folks from east coast states. As an added bonus some held the nestlings during banding operations.
The out-of -state people were amazed at the spectacular scenery, canyons and rock formations at Prairie and high desert juniper and mahogany trees in the Owyhee mountains. The above picture was taken at over 6000′ above sea level. The two rounded peaks in the background are Quicksilver Mountain on Cinnabar Ridge. We are about ten miles south of Silver City. If we were to swing our view about 90 degrees to the right we would see the Snake River Plain some 3000′ below stretching from Weiser to Mtn. Home.
This is my favorite nestbox site for photography. I call this nestbox, “A home with a view.”
The recent wild fire that revaged through the Prairie, ID area raised havoc with many of my nestboxes. Thirty-nine of my boxes were destroyed in the fire. All that is left of them are a few screws and nails scattered about in the ash at the base of charred tree trunks.
I would like to mount replacement nestboxes on the same trees that are left standing. But will these trees recover from the damage? Will the land owner salvage these trees for lumber and firewood? Most of these lost boxes were used every year by bluebirds, a few house wrens and tree swallows. Once in a while I would find a pine squirrel, flying squirrel or a chipmunk nesting in a box. I must come up with a plan before next year’s migrants arrive.
This little gal came into the parking area just as I was leaving this site. There is a nest box about a hundred yards away. This site is located in the mountains along the road to Sagehen reservoir in Gem county. The bluebirds seem tolerant of the human activity here. I often use this site to pull over and have lunch while on a birding field trip with outdoor people. On one such trip with about seven cars and twenty people a pair of bluebirds came in flitted about and perched on the parked vehicles while we watched. On another occasion when I returned to my car after checking the nest box I discovered a female Western Bluebird inside. She had entered through a single open window and was trapped inside when I approached. She escaped when I went around to the other side of the car. Over the course of some 34 years of checking bluebird nest boxes I’ve experienced many heart warming encounters with these lovely birds. I would encourage everyone to get acquainted with these friendly little birds of blue.