Monday, May 09, 2011

A Pretty Bluebird Couple and The Mean Bird

One of the first things we noticed when we started staying at the Mountain Creek Farm was the number of bird boxes/houses all over the barns, yard, porch, etc. 

Many of them are broken or need to be repaired so I was unsure if we would ever have birds living in them.

As you can see from the one above, the entrance has had repairs before.  The previous owner placed a template over the top of the original hole.  The reason for this is because the bluebird only needs a 1 1/2" hole in order to enter the house.  If it is larger than that other birds can take over their home and as you can see above a bird had previously made the hole bigger in order to take over their home.  At some point Kevan and I will try to create templates and encourage the nicer birds (bluebirds, sparrows, nuthatches) and try to discourage the more larger mean birds as you will hear about below.

One morning Kevan and I noticed a little head poking out of one of the houses that is attached the barn.  We were so excited.

Then, we noticed that it was a bluebird couple.  The boy bird is hanging out above the house on the edge of the barn roof watching to make sure his wife is safe.  See below?  Now, I know that in the bird world the male is the prettiest, but I like to think it was the male looking out for the stop thinking about how much prettier the bird on the house is and how vibrant it's colors are...I think it's a girl.  :o)

And this is the boy...(husband)

And he is looking out for his honey...keeping watch...

And why must he keep watch?  I will tell you.  Because there is this "not-so-nice-bird" called the shiny cowbird.  This bird is known as a brood parasite.  This means that they do not lay eggs in their OWN nests, they lay eggs in OTHER birds nest and make them hatch them and raise them.  It is pretty interesting and a little funny to think that other birds will hatch their babies.  But, if you do a quick google search on cowbirds you will read that most birds try to push the alien egg out of its nest and the cowbird comes back and takes revenge on them.  Poor bird couples just trying to have their own babies and the cowbirds have to come and spoil it. 

When you watch them ripping apart a nice bluebird nest it will make you mad.  It made my husband so mad he threatened to go get his gun and shoot this cowbird if he saw him do it one more time.  I think the cowbird heard him...because we never saw him bother the bluebirds again.

You can't see it in this picture, but the bluebird flew away and the cowbird swooped in and started ripping their nest out of the house.  It was so sad.  But, luckily that was the last we saw of him.

Update: so the picture above of the cowbird looks like a grackle, but we think it is a cowbird.  Here is a picture of one of the cowbirds on our feeders (from my previous post of the cowbird).  In the sun these 2 had a brown head and do not look like a grackle, but the one above does even though I don't think he is.

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