Hey! Lookit. Finally put some birds on the blog. These mountain bluebirds ended up being neighbors for a few days in the Ruby Mountains (Nevada). Did a 4 day trip in the midst of our weird sickness (we're thinking it was a lingering water borne thing? That's a whole other story though). We were forced to kind of wimp out and set up a base camp and do day hikes because of the constant puke-it-out feelings, but, we were able to grin and bear it and hike in far enough to get away from everyone and had a lake all to ourselves, so it all worked out in the end. Also, pikas were only 5 minutes away!
So these bluebirds, unbeknownst to us, had a nest close to where we set the tent up. Both male and female were making constant food carries to the nest cavity, which was pretty cool. Luckily, they didn't seem to mind we were nearby. This MOBL pair were total badasses. I watched them attack a chipmunk and golden-mantled ground squirrel at least ten times. Whenever one of them would get too close, one of the bluebirds would just try to annihilate them-it was a fairly vicious event. I was sitting near the nest tree at one point and the chipmunk ran across my lap and the male bluebird landed on my knee, then proceeded to chase the chipmunk around me - yes, bluebird and chipmunk were running over and around me. It was kind of, well, it was kind of awesome.
One day, (and oh do I wish I had a photo of this...) we saw the female fly out of the cavity with a dead nestling. She placed it about 15 meters from the nest tree in some tall grass. Not sure why it had to die, but I would guess there were too many nestlings, just because the other MOBL nests I have seen, there have been 5 nestlings and things seem to get get a little crowded. Only the heartiest survive kinda thing. Sucky. It was a bummer and I of course cried. Because I cry about everything, I'm not going to deny it. (Seriously, blogger doesn't let me center photos I move anymore...does anyone have any insight on this? It's making me a little bit crazy) Nature Notes