Friday, March 18, 2011


In the five years we've lived here, I've only seen Western Bluebirds sporadically in the late winter/early spring months, usually perched on the fence around the neighbor's corral. This year is different though, as there seems to be an uptick in the Bluebird population here on our property. I've been keeping a bird list for the property and have sighted 60 species to date. Many are common (both year-round residents and returning migrants), while a few are one-timers, or rarely seen. In the Spring of 2007, there was a really bizarre but fantastic occurrence when dozens of Lazuli Buntings were descending on and around our bird feeders every single day for about a month. Since then? Not so much...

4/17/07 Lazuli Buntings (Passerina amoena) under one of the bird feeders (not a good shot as lighting was bad, but you get the picture). At times, there would be a couple dozen of these guys in a feeding frenzy with White-crowned sparrows, California Thrashers, House Finches, Black-headed Grosbeaks, etc. While Gil was having "Alfred Hitchcockesque" nightmares, I was in birder's heaven!

And now, I think this year will be the year of the Bluebird! 

3/17/11 A male Western Bluebird (Sialia mexicana), checking out a bird house along our fenceline. I installed this bird house almost 2 years ago but none of our avian visitors (even the ubiquitous house wrens) were remotely interested. That is, until now. 

3/17/11 Thought this was kind of a funny-looking shot. Looks more like levitating than flying.

3/17/11 Here's the little lady checking out the potential digs. 

3/18/11 This morning, the pair came back to visit the amenities around the bird house. Here's Mr. Bluebird inspecting the jacuzzi. 

And here's the Mrs., with her 2 cents.

3/18/11 Perched on rebar.

What a cutie. I also put out some dried meal worms (from Armstrong Nursery) in a makeshift feeder nearby, hoping that it keep the bluebirds coming. They are still coming, but not for the worms. Maybe the dried stuff isn't as appealing as the live wiggly stuff.

3/18/11 A non-sequiter. I found this tiny, weathered old nest on the ground amongst some dried brush while weeding the trail off of the chaparral stand near the entry to the property. So delicate and only about 5" in diameter. I placed it in the inner branches of our now 8-ft. tall 'San Gabriel' Fremontodendron, just in case it can be reused by another birdie. 


  1. I love your commentary of the couple checking out the house and digs. I've only ever seen 2 western bluebirds, one at Pinnacles and another at Fort Ord. I hope yours choose to move in.

  2. Katie, I hope they do, too! They come through here everyday, but so far no nesting activity. Storm is coming through today and tomorrow, so will have to wait it out to see if they return after the rains.

  3. What a neat post and bluebird pictures. I had my first nesting pair two years ago and again this past summer. After waiting for at least ten years after the houses first went out. :)

  4. Very cool. I always stop when I see a blue-colored bird. Locally here it's almost exclusively scrub jays, but there's something really wonderful about a bird the color of the sky or some wonderful sage flower. I'm glad they've decided to set up household around you.

  5. These bluebirds know it's a buyers market. Sure the house has a master bedroom, but enough bathrooms for when the inlaws visit? Is the pool working? How is the plumbing? And the chef?

    I hope they sign the lease.

  6. how cool about your bluebirds. i have noticed them more hanging over at a nearby park that borders open space here. and they seem to be in small flocks. so exciting they are checking out your nesting box! (i don't think i've ever seen a lazuli bunting. lucky you.)

  7. Lucky. Lucky! How nice that you can watch these sweet little creatures. They know where they'll be treated right.
    I love them sitting on rebar like those plant stakes you see, so awful of hummingbirds and dragonflies on plastic stakes. These are the real thing!

  8. How delightful.

    We've utterly failed to entice nesting birds into our tiny urban garden.

  9. troutbirder - how exciting to have repeat nesters! But after 10 years, eh? It's better late than never!

    James, Scrub Jays are also our most common blue-hued bird. I love their raucous ways as they descend on the bird feeders and scatter the seeds everywhere. Dining etiquette is not their forte.

    altadena hiker, talk about difficult customers. They better sign the damned lease after I spent all that time putting in the extra amenities.

    Laguna Dirt, bluebirds do like to hang out in open fields & pastures, especially when there are handy perches like fences and fence posts around. The Lazuli Buntings are absolutely stunning and a bird you'll never forget once you see it. I know they're on the checklist for birds in the OC, so who knows - maybe you'll spot one yet.

    Sue, I agree - I'd much rather the real thing, than any of those plastic replicas in my garden!

    Lisa, it ain't easy attracting nesting birds even to a largish rural garden. As altadenahiker so astutely noted, these guys know it's a buyer's market and can be downright picky. So I say, keep on trying!