It’s not very often that Rob and I go on a nature/birding walk with a target bird in mind. But on a grey, dreary Saturday in January we did just that, we went looking for Eastern Bluebirds.
I still remember the first time I saw an Eastern Bluebird. We were driving around back roads of southwestern Ontario many years ago, and there on top of some road side wires we saw our first pair. They took our breath away, even if it wasn’t a picture perfect perch. Since that time Rob and I have become members of the Ontario Eastern Bluebird Society and I have managed their Facebook page for the last few years. It was a way for me to give back to an organization that has helped this species thrive.
Eastern Bluebirds overwintering in southern Ontario is becoming more common. A friend of ours saw a few at a park about a half hour drive from our home on December 18, 2016. His sighting was the reason for our outing in the new year. They are not a bird we will see in our backyard, the suburbs of Toronto isn’t a good habitat for them. Cavity nesting birds, they prefer open fields and meadow type areas if the right bird boxes are supplied.
Rob is currently working with a local college that has an area on their grounds that provide the perfect habitat for Eastern Bluebirds. They nested there years ago, and are still seen there on occasion. The college, with Rob’s assistance, are hoping to have them nest there again. They did have success with Tree Swallows last year.
We always have to travel out of our backyard to see Eastern Bluebirds, and we usually see them in May during migration, when like many other birders we are making the most of the opportunity to see many different species.
This particular Saturday we wanted a hint of the beauty that arrives with Spring, so in search we went. Bronte Provincial Park in Burlington, Ontario hosts monitored nest boxes, and it seems some of the Eastern Bluebirds decided to stay for the winter. We walked for quite a while, and then it happened, that brilliant flash of blue caught our eyes.
We saw six Eastern Bluebirds on our outing, three male and three female. Watching them was joyful, and a beautiful reminder of the coming season.