• Western bluebirds in the Sierra foothill garden

    by  • October 27, 2011 • Fall, Sierra Foothills, Wildlife

    The bird bath has attracted a flock of Western bluebirds

    The bird bath has attracted a flock of Western bluebirds

    One of my favorite color combos is cobalt blue and turquoise. That is why I like this picture!  These are Western Bluebirds, Sialia mexicana, and have appeared here in my Sierra foothill garden for the first time this Fall. I’ve never seen them here in the ten years we’ve had the property. 

    The Western Bluebird is a small thrush found throughout the Western US from Mexico to British Columbia.  They like open forests rather than meadows and nest in tree hollows and between bark and trunk. They are usually year-round residents in central California’s oak woodlands, but not here until the steady water source was provided in the way of the bird bath.

    Vivid cobalt blue make these little birds a pleasure to see!

    Vivid cobalt blue make these little birds a pleasure to see!

    The male is bright cobalt blue, head, wings and back, rusty brown chest and has a grey belly.  See the female in the first photo and how it is more muted steel grey.

    These ruffled little guys will now go take a dust bath as well.

    These ruffled little guys will now go take a dust bath as well.

    Duck down and close your eyes

    Duck down and close your eyes

    Splish splash, I was takin' a bath..

    Splish splash, I was takin' a bath..

    I’m delighted by the idea that these birds live in cooperative groups with mating pairs as well as other kin who help at the nest, feeding young and living nearby. Western bluebirds eat insects in summer and fruits and seeds in winter and have a fondness for the sticky berries of the oak mistletoe.

    Hey! You lookin' at us?? Yeah, we're cude.

    Hey! You lookin' at us?? Yeah, we're cuude.

    As soon as the sun appears shortly after 7am over  Peckinpah Ridge, the birds arrive as if on a schedule. They drink and bathe within sight of my windows as I have my coffee in the early morning. Many times it’s one type of bird at a time at the bird bath, either the Jays or the Bluebirds or the goldfinches.

    All clean... which way to fly?? Next task,...food!

    All clean... which way to fly?? Next task,...food!

    “For man, as for flower and beast and bird, the supreme triumph is to
    be most vividly, most perfectly alive.”
    David Herbert Lawrence

    About

    Sue Langley, a passionate gardener and photographer lives and gardens with her husband and Corgi, Maggie on 7 acres just south of Yosemite, Zone 7 at 3000 feet. She also manages the Flea Market Gardening Facebook page and website.