In California, Western bluebirds splash summer's golden hills in blue flight. They fly, dip, and gently perch on tall stalks of grass, trees, or even modern art sculptures as in the artistic bird in the photo below. The male bluebird is a lovely, deep blue with orange red on the front, classic complementary colors. The female bluebird's colors are not as vibrant, but spotting one of these mother birds is still a beautiful sight.
Bluebirds are part of the thrush family, along with robins and another one of my favorites, the hermit thrush (which is also bluebird-sized, smaller than a robin, and a pale rusty color with delicate spots).
Northern California residents are lucky to share our habitats with bluebirds yearround, with nesting season taking place in May and June. It is now one of my dreams to see a bluebird nest or baby bluebirds. I have most commonly seen adult birds in open fields on the edges of suburbs or agricultural land. They act as reminders to me to pause and gaze out over the open countryside that they love so much.
Bluebirds nest in cavities (natural holes in dead trees, for example), and they had come under increasing threat from other cavity nesters like House Sparrows and European Starlings. So if you have a dead tree on land you own, it is best to leave it, as nature's own sculpture and an inviting nursery for baby bluebirds. But to give bluebirds even more of a chance, concerned birders have constructed thousands of nesting boxes across the San Francisco Bay Area. I had a chance to follow the path of bluebirds along a nesting box route, guided by a local ranger, in Tilden Park in Berkeley. And at least anecdotally, I feel that I have seen more and more bluebirds over the years. I even got to count a pair in last February's Great Backyard Bird Count when I tallied birds on a hike on a path at the dividing line between houses and open, rolling hills.
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