Tuesday, February 10, 2009
At one of the parks where I walk there are bluebirds that hang out year-round in the woods at the edge of the parking lot. There's a single nest box there, but I often see as many as three couples sharing the area. It must be a good feeding spot. They were all out this morning, and I stopped to watch them on my way back to my car. It's still winter-drab here, no flowers or new grass yet, so the males looked especially pretty as they flashed their bright blue feathers.
For months, one of the females in the group has had a love-hate relationship with my car. She swoops down on it and perches on the rubber strip along the driver's window, so she can see herself in the side mirror. She doesn't peck at her reflection but it seems to agitate her. After she looks at herself she'll hop from the roof, to the hood, to the trunk--anointing the car at every stop. The car is dark blue, and her deposits create vivid white trails and smears. Since I am not the fastidious type, I don't mind. In fact, I think it gives the contraption some character.
I can't figure out what she thinks she's doing. Females don't usually do a lot of territorial battling unless they have a brood to protect. She might just be an exceptionally pugnacious bird, but if that's the case, why does she tolerate the other bluebirds in the same territory? Whatever she's got in mind, the rest of the birds couldn't be less interested. They never go near the cars.
Charles Bukowski's poem "Bluebird," read by Harry Dean Stanton.
Bluebird photo by Ken Thomas from Wikimedia Commons