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.
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.
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.
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.