The 2009 bluebirding breeding and nesting season is over. I have suffered again that dreaded “empty nest syndrome”. It’s all part of being a bluebirder. It’s autumn already and another bluebird season has come to a close….except for compiling notes, stories, photos, and sharing with everyone the joys of bluebirding on the Woolwine House Bluebird Trail!
My story of photographing Mr. and Mrs. Blue using a Noel Guard is on Page 6 of the Fall 2009 Virginia Bluebird Society issue of The Bird Box. The full photo series can be found on this website under the Predator Guards gray tab section above. If you prefer to just read the text instead, it is below the link in italics. I hope you’ll look at how nice the VBS newsletter is! There are some other terrific stories in it. Thank you, Virginia Bluebird Society! I am honored to be a part of this great organization. http://www.virginiabluebirds.org/newsletterpage.html
Through the Lens, A Treat!
Recently, I spent a beautiful morning observing and photographing a pair of bluebirds on my trail. One of the nests had been infested with blowflies, and I had just conducted a switchout to a clean nest. After making certain that the chicks were safe and comfortable, I ran back behind the pine trees to my stool and camera on the tripod. After a switchout, I like to stay back and observe from a distance, to make sure that my intervention didn’t disturb the parents’ continued care of their chicks. Moreover, it was a perfect day for photography, and I was prepared and hoping for something special.
I was rewarded within five minutes. The female returned to the box with grub. She perched on the top of the box, hopped over to the top of the Noel guard, then flew into the box to feed her chicks. She exited the box, perched inside the center of Noel guard, and stayed there. As I focused in with the camera and waited another two minutes or so, the male arrived with grub in his beak. The female, however, didn’t move from the guard. It appeared the female and the male may have a tight squeeze as she stayed inside and he was about to land on the end of the guard. I thought to myself, “What will happen next? Will they both fit inside the guard as he enters?” At that moment, the female perched at the end of the guard and opened her mouth to receive food from the male while he was in flight. Then she stayed and watched him enter the box with what remaining grub he had to feed their chicks. The female flew to the top of the box, and the male exited with a fecal sac. This was a joyful event for me to see and document with photos. These activities happen so fast – in a blink of an eye, when we turn our heads or walk away. It’s as if my nest intervention had never occurred. I received an additional treat since I had modified all my boxes from front openings to side openings to install the Noel guards. Had I not stayed to watch and had I not had my camera, I would not have this event in pictures. October 2009