The continuing discoveries of a 21st century artist and naturalist …
For several days I’ve been enjoying the sights of bird behaviors and activities as the cold weather closes in- some familiar, some completely new. The most unusual was a group of Eastern Bluebirds flitting in, out and around our bluebird house. I remembered reading something about Eastern Bluebird families returning to use their nest box during the winter and searched out the passage in my book by Donald and Lillian Stokes The Complete Guide to Attracting Bluebirds The Bluebird Book.
In late summer, when breeding is over, a pair of bluebirds with various young from broods of that year may form a small flock and wander about together as they feed…..In the fall this family may join with other bluebird families and form and even larger flock…..In northern areas these flocks start to migrating in October and November. In other areas, family units and the larger flocks may stay together all winter and during cold weather may even roost together. In some winter roost boxes, monitors have discovered eastern bluebirds that are siblings and sometimes these are joined by one of the parents.
Another morning I was lucky to watch geese – Canadian with their domestic friend – light on the river while a few wild turkeys fed on the opposite river bank. When I went outside the turkeys started moving up the ridge into the cover of the winter woods. One flew up into a tree on the edge of the woods seemingly the ‘look-out’ for the group. Not long after another turkey flew across from the ridge behind our house and over the river into the woods. I had seen this behavior before but what I had never seen was a turkey miss its landing. I heard this turkey crashing down through the limbs of evergreens on the other side of the river. I later heard clucks from that area and further up the ridge so I’m guessing he was getting a bit of ribbing from his pals.
Since then we’ve had a couple of turkeys walk right by our bedroom window after leisurely crossing the front lawn and watched an Osprey fly in and perch on a high limb above the river.
Wings Over Winter