Tuesday, February 8, 2011
The Bluebird of Happiness
NOT! Over the past three weeks or so I have been noticing quite a few Western Blue Birds showing up in my area. I'm always amazed every year how early they show up. We often see them during the snowstorms in March. Yesterday I encountered a small flock of them checking out the nest boxes at the fish hatchery below Lake Mendocino. Today when I went back I was privileged to see how all is not always sweet and happy in the world of blue birds.
When I first arrived I noticed a commotion on the ground just inside the hatchery fence. At first I didn't know what it was. There were three Western Bluebirds that had a Tree Swallow pinned to the ground and they were giving it a pretty good beating with claws, beaks and wings. When they looked up and saw me two of the blue birds took off but the third one hung on and kept pecking the swallow. Finally the swallow broke free and took off.
I would guess it was a territorial fight as both species are cavity nesters and they were probably competing for one of the nest boxes on the hatchery grounds. I didn' know bluebirds could be so violent.