An Eastern bluebird alighted on one of the nesting boxes in the meadow. It was 15 January.
Last year, I saw a bluebird on a box on 2 April. That’s more the season when it might build a nest. But no bluebird honored me with a nest in one of my boxes last year.
This year’s bluebird might well be roosting here for the winter but might fly north later for nest building. The bluebirds looking to nest will come up from somewhere further south in the spring. After this year’s bird had flown, which also happened to be before I could snap a picture, I checked the contents of the box. A House wren had left behind a layer of twigs from an unfinished nest that I had not yet removed. But the twigs now also had some small blue feathers on them. Was the Bluebird adding insulation to a roost?
I checked the 2 other boxes. The middle one still had a Tree swallow’s nest from last season. That nest, lined with magnificent owl feathers, was such a gem that I had not wanted to remove it. The 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act prevents me from collecting feathers but I can leave them in the nest.
The third box, with its special 1and a half inch diameter entry hole fashioned by a carpenter working on the house renovation of 2009-10, was empty. I had removed the wood chips that the House sparrow deposited last year when chiseling that special entry to a size that better suited him. If the House sparrows are gone, maybe a bluebird, maybe three bluebird families, will feel more comfortable and nest in the meadow come spring.