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Bluebird bird picture


Bluebird bird pictureBluebird (Sialia sialis) - 7.00 inches

This is one of the earliest birds to arrive in the spring; it is a question which we are likely to meet first, the Bluebird or the Robin, but not infrequently a flash of the cerulean color tells us the Bluebird has won in the race northward.

His personal appearance is tasteful if not aesthetic. Upper parts including wings and tail ultra­marine blue; there is a rusty tinge to the feather-tips in the fall; under parts a light burnt sienna or chestnut tone; feathers beneath the tail white. Female much paler in color; the upper parts gray-blue. Nest generally in the hollow of some old orcliard tree, or often in the convenient "bird house" (build a Blue Bird birdhouse yourself? see How to build a Bird House). The Bluebird's egg is blue-white.

This bird is common in the eastern United States as far west as tile eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains; its northern range-limit is Manitoba and Nova Scotia; it breeds throughout its range, and winters from southern New York to the Gulf States.

Before the snow has melted, and while the air is still piercing chill and the cold gray clouds chase each other across a forbidding sky, the key-note of the spring symphony is struck by a little Bluebird who is perched somewhere among the bare, brown branches of the old maple beside the road, or tile apple-tree in the orchard. The tones are unmistakable, quavering, tentative, uncertain, a bit tender and sentimental, and far more appealing than the robust ones of the Robin.

You may call that the Bluebird's note if you choose but there is a certain unsteady, bouncing character to it which can only be properly expressed by the grace note and the succeeding three notes.

It is precisely the Bluebird's method to handle all his notes that way; the little singer does not seem to know how to rest steadily on any one tone! There is a pleading quality to his voice - a plaintive tenderness which is entirely due to the unsteady character of his notes. No Robin sings this way, however similar the notations of the two birds appear to the eye; for, if one expressed the Bluebird's music by dots it would look exactly like that of the Robin.

Even when a number of Bluebirds are singing together very early in the morning, when one would suppose that the song would be at its best, I have scarcely ever heard a singer suggest the major.

One of the most extraordinary effects of color I have ever witnessed in my life was exhibited by a Bluebird in full sunlight relieved against the sornbre background of a thunder cloud. It was in Middlebury, Vt., late in the afternoon when the sun shone slanting across the lawn adjoining the residence of a friend. He pointed out the bird to me, and upon viewing it through my opera-glass I was more than amazed. The breast was a light, aesthetic red suggestive of the conch-shell's color; the shoulders were a vivid turquoise blue!

The feathers had an iridescent effect enhanced by a, tiny flash of brilliant white which was the touch of the sun's strong rays upon the back of a black beetle held in the bird's mouth. What a revelation of color it was! I wondered at the time whether any one would believe it if I painted it; "most likely they would not," I said to myself, "that would be the penalty for reporting nature in one of her eccentric moods!"