May 1- Spring is in full swing– There are 4 healthy-looking bluebird chicks in our next box and the parents are busy delivering freshly caught insects and caterpillars every few minutes.
Two years ago we installed bluebird nest boxes on our property to help our native Western bluebird population. This is the first year that a pair was successful at raising a clutch. Last year the bluebirds started to nest, but the House sparrows quickly moved in, evicting the bluebirds for the season.
On this day, as I approached the nestbox I heard the gentle chirping “diyr, diyr, diyr”. The two adults were perched on a nearby telephone wire about 15 feet away, watching me. When I was about 3 feet away from the nestbox, the adults suddenly called out loudly “Diyr!…diyr!…diyr!”–the same ‘words’ but with an urgent tone. The chirping chicks fell silent in response. Aha, the bird language warning call: “shhh-danger- be still and be quiet!”
Birds are speaking all around us, but are we listening to them? Are we hearing the messages that fill the air? What bird calls do you hear outside today? Do they sound relaxed or are they scolding, or warning others of your presence?
Today I spied through binoculars from the house about 60 feet away, watching the busy parents hunting for bugs and returning to feed the four hungry chicks every couple of minutes.
What can you do to help our native birds? Plant native plants- it will support a healthy insect population that the birds depend on. The shrubs will provide cover to hide from predators and the fruit will provide a good source of food in the summer.