Saturday, July 7, 2012

Nesting Western Bluebirds

There is just something special about Western Bluebirds. Whether I see them in rural farmlands or mountain clearcuts, they are always a joy to see. They are small and unassuming.They have a soft, cat-like "mew" or "bew" call. Even though the males are blue with rusty breasts, the colors aren't gaudy.The female's colors are even more muted. Everything about this bird is understated.

Several local birders noted the presence of these birds this spring in a clearcut along a logging road in the Coast Range above Hagg Lake, west of Portland, Oregon. While I was primarily looking for forest species like Hermit Warblers, Gray Jays, and Sooty Grouse, I spent some time watching the bluebirds and finally noted where they flew up to a snag at the edge of the forest. There they had a nest in an old woodpecker hole. These photos were taken May 29, 2012.

A couple of years ago I wrote a post on Western Bluebirds in the Willamette Valley and how they've made a remarkable recovery since the low point in their population about 40 years ago.

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