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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Bluebirds of Spring

When I was a kid, I picked up an old 78 rpm record at St. Vincent de Paul's thrift store in Spokane of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys singing "Take Me Back to Tulsa."  On side B was "There's a Bluebird on Your Windowsill."  And that's the song that's been going through my head today - well, at least the tune has been repeating because I can't get beyond the second line.

Today we saw four pair of western bluebirds in the pasture behind the house.  Of the 56 photos I shot with Jay's heavy camera with the telephoto lens, only one was mostly in focus.  And here it is.  I always thought any bluebirds we saw out here were mountain bluebirds (that's what Mom always called them), but in comparing my photo with the ones on the Internet, they are more-than-likely the western bluebird (Sialia mexicana).  They winter in Mexico or southern California.  These may be only passing through, on their way to somewhere more exciting like Canada or Alaska.  Or, they may have decided that they like our valley - maybe even permanent summer residents I have yet to make an acquaintance with -- and are looking about for an old woodpecker's hole or a  rotting pine snag to build a nest in.  I was charmed to see so many together, but I read that when not mating, they will travel together.  I think they mate for life, but haven't found anything to support that.  Of course, the male is a "love me, I'm beautiful" blue with rufus (that's orange-brown) on its breast and between its wings. The petite female has a subdued, impeccably tasteful look that will never go out of style (though an ornithologist, obviously a man, called her a "faded version of the male"); she has a white eye-ring - a sublime adornment - that the male lacks. 

It's been raining and sleeting for days. I do so want spring to come. I do. I do.

"There's a bluebird on your windowsill;
There's a rainbow in your sky. da, di, da, di do."

1 comment:

  1. That is an extraordinary picture! Spring will arrive--eventually...