Third time’s a charmer

Mama Blue


My beloved bluebirds nested three times this season, a record here on Bickley’s Pond. Still that is not the most surprising thing that happened around here this summer. This is.



One precious teenager, whom we assume was born of the early brood, started hanging around during the last hot days of the third nesting. It was mid-July and Mama and Daddy were very busy trying to satiate 2017 babies numbers eleven, twelve, thirteen and fourteen.

(These loving parents were also, I am quite certain, exhausted.)

Junior waited. And watched.



Then he started hopping about the yard digging for worms and spiders and creepy crawlies. But rather than eating them himself, the youngster flew to the nest time and time again feeding the bounty to his little brothers and sisters.


Look, Mom!



Everybody good in there?


On Day 17 the brave little babies climbed to the opening, flapped their wings and jumped from the nest for the very first time. I wasn’t there to witness their fledging (I’m sad to say) but I am quite certain their big brother was very close by, cheering them on.



It was a sweet way to spend July, watching this little group, a reminder of the strength of love, the power of encouragement, and the bonds of family, united.



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Baby Bluebirds, The Movie

mouth-3It’s nearly impossible to see into the bluebird nest, something I’ve mentioned before. This is a very GOOD thing, yes? Unless you are…let’s say…ME, and what you want is a confirming look that those babies are doing fine.

Better still, a little video proof.

How could I make this happen, in short order and without unnecessarily upsetting the Mama and/or Papa? What I needed was a moment alone with the babies, a feeding time opening when the parents were out rustling up some wormy grub, and a tiny bit of light pointed right down into that birdhouse hole. That made this a two-man job.

And along comes my sweet Eliza, just home from her junior year in college. I grabbed her by the arm and drug her down the stairs to the studio to see my new babies. (She was very accommodating, even if not that interested until she actually saw them. Then she swooned, just like me. Could you just shine your little iPhone light right in there? I asked. I’d like to see if it’s possible to grab a little video clip.

Oh, did we succeed. Look at this show, no doubt brought to us by Baby Harry.

I laugh every time I see it. What joy these little creatures bring!

Bluebird babies, Day 5

Day 3: (Happy) Drama

There’s been much discussion around my house about the need (or not) to provide mealworms for the bluebirds and their babies. You will recall that’s something I’ve never done, amateur that I am at the entire bird-nesting thing. In fact, the birdhouse I bought on a whim turned out to be the wrong kind of birdhouse altogether—a decoration, for heaven’s sake—except that this Mama bluebird went right on in and built a little nest and laid five perfect blue eggs and is now doing her best, along with her faithful mate, to keep them all nourished, safe and alive.

And then along came Onyx, the blacksnake who shares the shrubbery bed with foo foo, the little brown rabbit. (Oh my.) And then that ol’ mean hawk who keeps dive-bombing our house and who we now believe attacked a nest of Morning Doves up on the roof. (There were feathers everywhere.) As if that weren’t ENOUGH, then there was that threat of intense severe weather, rain and hail and wild whipping winds and possible tornadoes and YOU CAN JUST IMAGINE HOW I SPENT TWO FULL DAYS WORRIED ABOUT THAT. Should I try to move the lightweight birdhouse which is simply sitting on top of a lightweight metal table on our downstairs open-air porch? Should I try to anchor the birdhouse with a brick in the underneath opening? Should I move the entire thing????

Wouldn't you be worried?


Thankfully, the storms never materialized. And while I haven’t seen the snake in three or four days, I did see sweet foo foo just last night, foo foo the brown bunny who is not the slightest bit skiddish about me or my camera.


foo foo, the world’s friendliest bunny


I did spend some time down in the studio looking out the big window, hoping hoping hoping for a bluebird sighting. My heart longed for a little reassurance, just a glimpse of Mama or Papa coming or going, proof without intrusion that things are going okay for those babies.

It wasn’t long before she gave me the incredible gift of this confirmation.







Wow. Oh wow.


It took me a minute to catch my breath. Then I did a little dance in my studio, happy to have the birds nest, happy the babies have made it to Day 3, happy to be reminded there is nothing on earth more powerful—or beautiful—than a mother’s love.