Mountain Bluebird - A Serendipitous Experience

by Dave Hanks

I don’t know how many times – too numerous to count – we have pursued a Mountain Bluebird in our truck. We would drive slowly, as one would alight on a fence post, and try to move up close. However, it would always fly to another post down the line. We then would repeat the process, only to have the same result. This game of “leap post” always ended in frustration.

The Almo area has lots of our state bird, and we have chased them every time we’ve been in that area. One evening, in The City of Rocks, we got lucky. A bird was content to just sit. He let us move all around him and take photographs. His mate was also very cooperative. They were in a tangle that surrounded an old stump and must have had a nest close by. It seems that if you go after a species enough times, eventually there will be an individual that is willing to cooperate.

Bluebirds are cavity nesters and the program of putting up bird houses has met with success. The boxes that the bluebirds don’t use are often utilized by Tree Swallows. Bluebirds prefer the more arid, sparsely treed, brushy areas, or open woodlands.

This 7 ¼” bird is sky blue above and a pale blue on his undersides. The female is a brownish-gray with some blue in her wings. In dim light, bluebirds appear to be black. That is because their feather structure reflects the blue wave lengths and light is essential to bring their colors to their full potential. It is a member of the Thrush family with includes: other bluebirds, Robins, Solitaires, and species that are named as thrushes. Their song is a short, clear, caroling warble. Bluebirds are early migrants and arrive here in late March or early April.

Bluebirds have a spot in the heart of even those folks who are not birders.

(Sitting of an evening in a Wild Rose bush)