Photo by Steve Bracci
It all began with a popular garden column on bluebirds, penned by Sid Mullis for last year’s Home and Garden issue. What started as a casual interest in bluebirds spiraled into what many of my friends and co-workers would likely term an obsession.
My fascination with birds and birdwatching isn’t new. We’ve always had a birdfeeder or two, including one of those battery operated ones that flings off hapless squirrels who foolishly light on the perch. But I never realized bluebirds nested in urban yards and gardens until I read Sid’s article.
Fortuitously, about the same time as the article appeared, I found out that my friend Bill Morris builds bluebird houses, which he generously shares. And not just any bluebird houses, but architecturally significant boxes artfully crafted from reclaimed wood he finds on his farm. So by mid-May, I had my very own “Morris original” properly positioned on a pole in my backyard, complete with snake guard.
It was perfect. Tastefully understated, it blended into the landscape yet was prominent enough for easy observation. But while I was quick to show it off to virtually every house guest, no visitors of the avian variety showed an interest.
Months went by without incident, the bluebird house all but forgotten, until one day in March a bluebird was spotted inspecting the house. I was overjoyed. Not only that, but there was also a very interested chickadee. They were both in and out of the house for days. Every sighting and movement was recounted enthusiastically to anyone who would listen to me. I scoured the internet for bluebird websites and blogs in search of information on their nesting habits. Seems they are very picky about where they nest and will even build multiple nests before deciding on their permanent home—sort of like House Hunters, only with birds. It was quite anxiety provoking.
After weeks of suspense and hand-wringing, I’m happy to report that a pair of bluebirds has chosen to make their nest in my bluebird box. I haven’t looked inside yet for fear they’ll change their minds, but I’m working up the courage to do so this weekend.
And though this venture has been very entertaining, I’m just a little concerned that some of my friends and family may have started referring to me as the crazy bluebird lady behind my back.
-Sherry Foster, Editor