A Bluebird Morning

Gloucester, MA — Sister-in-law Dale caught this little number in the yard this week. She’s been pulling out all the stops to attract a bluebird family and finally got one. (See more of her photography at daleblank.com).

51 thoughts on “A Bluebird Morning”

  1. Mr. Bluebird’s on my shoulder….oh wait that was song of the south

    thanks for your response on older long term unemployed people. I have known two people up close and personal and it has been a devastating experience for both.

  2. The bluebirds were right at home in our Ohio apple orchard, but they are very tentative about setting up residence down here. I do have a furnished house of the same variety as Dale’s set aside for the right couple, and I’ve seen a nice couple discussing its merits, but no sale. Maybe next year.

  3. In the trees around me are several different birds. The best is a Tanger, the noisiest are the crows. Hawks float above and Robins help keep the bugs under control.

  4. Good for you, Dale.
    Bluebirds can be hard to attract. You have to have the right habitat…. fields…. wide open spaces.

    The spring visitors I look forward to seeing the most in my feeders are back…. rose breasted grosbeaks, indigo buntings, and baltimore orioles.

  5. If Barak Obama saw this photo, he would say to the bluebirds, “You didn’t build this.”

    And Mitt Romney would call the bluebirds “Takers.”

  6. Every morning I throw a 1/2 cup of unsalted peanuts on my driveway and within an hour they are gone.

    Sometimes the birds get them, sometimes it’s the squirrels. This is OK because I like squirrels.

  7. Poor Putin. Prince Charles comparing him unfavorably to Hitler. And why shouldn’t he? It wasn’t that long ago that Stalin traded Poland to Hitler for the Baltic states. Put-Put is complaining because he’s living the legacy? My, my.

    So, a toast to HRH Charles, Prince of Wales.

  8. A while back our Aussie contributor bragged that China was going to become the economic powerhouse of the world
    This chart tells just how far they have to go

    a comparison by country of each’s share of the global stock market. Of the 36 trillion of world equity value the US owns 17.73 trillion, China not so much, just 00.73 trillion They have a ways to go.


  9. pogo, how is this wapo comment by your senator yesterday playing there?

    Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), one of his party’s leading health-care experts, lobbed an accusation this week that most Democrats have only whispered to themselves: some Republicans oppose the new health law because of President Obama’s race.
    Many political analysts attribute the shift away from Obama in West Virginia and other Appalachian states to his party’s support of alternative energy production and what some Republicans call a “war on coal.”

    Some Democrats believe that racial hostility partly explains the deeply white region’s disdain for the first African American president. Rockefeller is the most senior Democrat to give voice to those feelings.

    a lot of huffing and puffing with feigned indignation no doubt.

  10. Pat, Jay is no idiot. I haven’t heard anything, but I pretty much don’t get out a lot. I’m sure you’re right about the indignation, but there are plenty of both the R & D ilk here who are pretty straight forward about their racism, and plenty more whose racism is extremely thinly veiled. I am astounded that WVat only 2% o fhouseholds, is 37th in the list of states of households receiving public assistance (criticism of welfare recipients is one of the racist memes here – applied not so much to the holler dwellers but to those welfare queens in Charleston and Huntington and elsewhere out of state) – I would have guessed it’s much higher. But we’ve got to be in the top 10 for ignorance and top 5 for racism. The War on Coal is one factor in Obama hate, but that campaign ties Obama and Rockefeller together as anti WV. Rockefeller’s popularity remains high, Obama’s low.

  11. Sun shining on a freshly watered world, with birds chirping and singing songs for their mates, this day is a wonder of happiness. Spring is ready to change to summer, Memorial Day brings the spring flowers which add color to the graves of those who no longer stand guard and allow us to sleep in peace.

    Brave or scared, peaceful or in pain, the end is one that we all entertain. My family and ancestors have their place, as will I, but not today. Veterans should wear their medals on Memorial Day; Americans need to see that we are their friends and neighbors.

    We number less than one percent of the population now. A small number who have served, a very small number.

  12. Excellent comment Blue Bronc

    It’s to bad all this supportive talk on Memorial Day doesn’t translate into anything more meaningful the rest of the year

    Because the chicken hawks pretend all war is glory they refuse to acknowledge the traumatic impact on the people they send to fight

  13. hmmm, we’ve got a potential mystery here. Heard from an Audubon bird watcher: “I feel fairly confident that is a tree swallow.”

    well at least it is a BLUE bird

  14. I’m no organist (or is it ornithologist?) but the bird in the house it didn’t build looks like a tree swallow (although males & females differ pretty remarkably in the bird kingdom, and who knows which that one is). It seems to have shades of the masking around teh eyes and it’s white under the beak. I think it’s E flat.

  15. whskyjack,

    Jack, I know I’m over simplifying, but much of China’s seeming infatuation with Australia is in the latter’s ability to provide a steady flow of reasonably priced coal.

    Australia also sells China its Iron ore but competitors in that market get a break when labor actions in Australia rattle confidence in their ability to supply.

    At some point the Aussies are probably going to realize that they’re selling their national bounty to a country that is on a course that is philosophically different than their own.

    And this story makes me think of China’s neo-colonial involvement in other parts of the world:
    Australian Newcastle coal exports port sold to China-backed group for $1.6 bil

    I wonder what that converts to in yuan.

  16. Craig…. crap… oh well…. tree swallows are fun to watch too. They like to zip around and aren’t shy around human activity.

    blue bronc,

    nice post…

  17. pogo,

    I think it’s a bluebird. The most telling feature is the eye-circle which will separate that bird from many others.

    But, in Dale’s nice picture of the airplanes and the bridge, someone told her they were fighters. In fact they are attack aircraft; A-10s, a real workhorse that the AF wants to retire, but that the Army really wants to keep to support their soldiers in combat.

    I agree with the Army.

    I loved leafing through Dale’s albums. I apologize for allowing the pedant in me to show.

  18. Flatus, the mask around the eye (although somewhat faint) and the distinct color change below the beak is why I thought it might be a tree swallow. But like I said, I’m no originalist. (To me, most birds fall into the LBB family.) (little brown bird)

  19. Well, I assume Dale has seen the bird out of the nest , as the birds have different coloration she should know. Until proven different, it is a Blue bird.


  20. Well, putting aside our Audubon expert testimony, I say if it’s blue it’s a dang blue bird!

    By the way I’m doing Howard Kurtz “Media Buzz” show on FOX Sunday, 11am — leading with discussion of coverage of the VA scandal. Your thoughts welcome, if you don’t mind the intellectual property theft if I use them on air.

  21. I’m an avid hobbyist bird watcher living in the northeast… don’t have much experience with bluebirds as I live in the woods. But it’s clear to me that the bird in Dale’s picture has a white throat… not orange. Also, the head coloring is teal… not blue. IMO, the Audubon person is correct… it’s a tree swallow… which has a very abundant population here in the northeast.

  22. Craig, I was awarded 30% disability upon my retirement from active duty. The VA was very supportive of my educational pursuits to the point of indicating a willingness to spring for a doctorate. By that time, I was worn out and declined.

    Medical care was something else. My difficulties were primarily orthopedic resulting from about a dozen years of tossing ammunition around. It had gotten to the point where the last couple of years of my service, I needed a walking stick to get around.

    My doc at Bay Pines in Pinellas Cty was Dr “T”, a kindly old Russian immigrant. (Every VA hospital has a Dr T :) ) He actively worked to relieve the pain that was a fixture of my daily life.

    Then one day, he sheepishly told me that he had to stop because his boss told him he was spending too much time on a person who couldn’t be helped. It was an administrative decision and that was that. I’ve never sought treatment in a VA facility since then.

    Fortunately, had alternatives available through the military that involved cost sharing and then, finally, TRICARE and TRICARE for Life. Both of these programs offer tremendous security for military families, to include those retired from active duty. The generals want to cut them because they’d rather buy guns and bombs.

    Poor Shinseki. This mess is not of his making and he has not been given the tools to fix it. Those assholes in congress aren’t fit to scrub Shinseki’s stump.

  23. Craig.Crawford: I’m doing Howard Kurtz “Media Buzz” show on FOX Sunday, 11am — leading with discussion of coverage of the VA scandal

    you may want to comment on how this is shaking out on the campaign trails. whether it will rise above the usual partisanship pro/anti- Obama.

    interesting where mitch will be on this issue since according to courier journal

    U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes has split with the Obama administration in calling for the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki in response to delays in treatment and falsified record-keeping.

    “We owe a solemn obligation to our veterans, and our government defaulted on that contract. I don’t see how that breach of trust with our veterans can be repaired if the current leadership stays in place,” Grimes said in a statement released Thursday.

    and this

    In an interview with USA TODAY’s Capital Download, Dole, now 90, spoke with apparent anguish about whether that shake-up should include VA Secretary Eric Shinseki.

  24. Flatus: Those assholes in congress aren’t fit to scrub Shinseki’s stump

    wholeheartedly agree with every word. especially the first two.

  25. I say if it’s blue it’s a dang blue bird!

    Hey… wait a minute Craig… are you saying that all birds that are blue look alike…

    you damn ornithological racist!….. :)

  26. from an article about bluebird tree swallow competition

    Bluebird enthusiasts have been heard to complain, “Tree Swallows took all my
    bluebird boxes! They ganged up and drove my bluebirds away!”

    Are these complaints justified? You may meet people, especially in Eastern Bluebird
    range, who tell you that encouraging Tree Swallows is wrong. It is not! Bluebirds
    and Tree Swallows are both native songbirds, equally worthy of care, consideration,
    and conservation, and Tree Swallows aren’t preventing bluebirds from becoming
    abundant. One species is not more “desirable” than the other.

    it goes on in great detail about housing preferences, aggression, and why not to worry about swallowing up the bluebird population.

  27. RebelliousRenee,

    yeah, tell that speciest what for! guess he’s never seen an indigo bunting. now that’s really a blue bird….a true royal blue and nothing else as in having a tacky orange (like the u of f gators. icky tacky) belly.

  28. I have decided The Tree Swallow is better looking. The pure white underparts much preferred to the Bluebird’s icky orange chest. How’s that for ornithological racism RR?

  29. At Craig’s urging, I’ve coming forward as today’s bird expert. It’s not a blue bird, though it is blue. It is absolutely a tree swallow who are blue up top and white underneath and they love to take over blue bird boxes. We’re very familiar with both blue birds and tree swallows in Florida. Blue Birds are Florida Gator Orange and Blue…and Tree Swallows mass down here by the millions in the winter. I once saw two million tree swallows on the north shore of Lake Okeechobee, so don’t tell me I don’t know what a tree swallow looks like.

  30. wchender, I must defer to what I have personally experienced your phenomenal expertise on birds to be. Also you’re a solid Democrat. By way of introduction to the gang here, we fought many a political battle together and take pride as fellow foot soldiers in Jimmy Carter s 1976 election.

  31. wchender,

    You don’t know what a tree swallow looks like. A-ha-ha- couldn’t resist.

    Hey, I’ve got plenty of bluebirds, if anyone wants them, you just have to take this ______g woodpecker, too.

  32. I take back everything I’ve said about FoxNews, also. Great network- watch it all the time.

    (Edit- I would have thought at least one of those statements would have gotten me struck by lightning, but what do you know? Still kickin’. I might move up to blasphemy, next.)

  33. Iggy… I’ll take that woodpecker…. I absolutely LOVE woodpeckers!

    Craig… methinks you should be forced… yes, forced, I tell ya… to sell your birding binoculars. And no crying to the amateur bird watchers commissioner that you’ll sue…

    wchender… welcome to the blog…

  34. And after all, a tree swallow is a blue bird – it’s just not a bluebird. And really, if they sing and crap on cars, does it really make that much of a difference?

    I’m guessing there are mama and daddy bluebirds out there chirping at their daughters for hanging around with those arrogant (although handsome) tree swallows and mama and daddy tree swallows chirping at their daughters for hanging around with those blue trash bluebirds.

  35. Craig.Crawford,

    My father passed away at the Phoenix Vet Hospital back in 1981. At the time, he and the military retirees that made up his whole social group had moved there specifically for the excellent care they received. My son and his fellow retirees in the WA area get wonderful care at between Tri-Care and Madigan.

    I strongly suspect that the problems in Phoenix stem from the sheer volume from Iraq, Afghanistan and the growing numbers of aging retirees without planning for that volume. Madigan has stayed top of the line, but that may change now with the attached bases turning into MEGA bases due to closures elsewhere and the sheer influx of personnel to be serviced.

    Recommendation: Let the VA hospitals service the severely long term injured as a priority and semi privatized on going elderly and well care to local hospitals and doctors. Put them on some form of Medicare/Medicaid but government covered payments.

    Of course all of this depends on location. No vet should have to travel for hours or face long waiting times just to have access to care.

  36. Blue Bird vs Tree Swallow?

    Well, all I know is that they are not crows. I’ve got a few of those around my house and they make a fuss every time I walk out the back door.

    Like they OWN the neighborhood.

    But it could be worse. A couple of years ago there was a woodpecker who liked a dead tree in the protected wetland behind my house and, when it got to work, you could hear it a 1/4 mile away.

    It was like living next to a machinegun nest.

  37. Noisy woodpecker.

    If you have one of these in your backyard, you don’t need an alarm clock.


  38. I’m with Renee – I loves them woodpeckers – so long as they aren’t pecking my house. I have a friend who lives in a home with rough cedar siding and trim – the ‘peckers love it. I used to as a kid love to try and find pileated woodpeckers and yellow hammers. Never really saw the yellow hammers (maybe once), but did see pileated and red headed woodpeckers. Have loved them since I was a kid.

  39. I’m a fan of the pileated wood pecker. We had them in the woods down on the farm. I was an adult before I connected their loud calls with the bird.

    Around here we have a nesting pair of cardinals that own the back yard. humming birds robins and yesterday a reddish orange finch. With the death and removal of the 2 pine trees in the front yard our bird population is way down

  40. patd,

    Indeed. And you’re responsible for it, although I neglected to tell Craig that it was there. Mea bad.


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