In early spring I noticed a male Eastern Blue Bird hanging around a weathered old bird house in my front yard. I’d intended to get out there once the weather turned warmer and clean it out, since last year it was occupied by a rather prolific pair of chickadees. Before I got the chance, the female blue bird arrived and the pair set about busily gathering nesting materials for their new home.
For the next couple of weeks, while the female was busy inside with her eggs, the male would sit on the fence post and chatter at me as I weeded my garden. Captivated by my beautiful guests, I did some research. Though named our state bird in the 1930’s, the numbers of Eastern Blue Birds in New York State has greatly declined in the last fifty years. A shortage of nesting sites can be attributed to modern development, careless use of pesticides, and an influx of non-native birds competing for precious nesting spots. Happily, with the popularity of “nest box projects” across the state, the numbers of Eastern Blue Birds are on the rise once again.
Needless to say, as the weeks passed, I fell in love with these pretty little birds that have become symbols of hope and happiness and I decided to start my own nest box project. In addition to the existing house, my son and I put up a second house last night (Wal Mart, $9.99). Already this morning, a curious pair of blue birds was checking it out!
I’ve discovered that they are as useful as they are lovely. Blue birds not only fill my yard with beauty and song, they eat their weight in mosquitoes and other undesirable insects. I hope that eventually my two little houses will expand into a bona fide blue bird trail, but as they say, every journey begins with a single step.
I have begun it.
The rest is up to them.