I am at the laptop. I’ve been working on a magazine article about women fly tyers and how they influenced the streamers used on the rivers, lakes and streams of western Maine. My mug of tea has grown cold while I tap away at the keys. Trudging into the kitchen to fix another mug, I look out the window. Four, maybe five of the little blue comets are flitting around the wooden box where earlier in the year they had broke through their sky-blue eggs, eventually following their parents into the big unknown.

Every fall, bluebirds return to the nests, checking out the boxes I’ve set out for them, returning in the spring to have broods of their own.

I’m fond of chickadees and titmice, songbirds that frequent our winter feeders. I get a kick out of wrens, industrious little birds that each summer make a nest in a watering can that hangs from a peg on the wall of our back porch. Phoebes are one of the first birds to return each spring, bobbing their tails from a high perch before swooping down to pluck a flying insect from the air. White-throated sparrows are also one of my favorites, their cheerful call of “Mr. Peabody, Peabody, Peabody” announcing their presence.


But of all these birds, it is the bluebird that captures my imagination. Once common in rural communities, there was a time when entire seasons went by without a single sighting. Lately, they’ve rebounded. Each year at least one pair, and sometimes two, nest on our property. They are shy, easily scared away by other birds. We’ve watched more than one pair make a nest, only to leave when a wren or sparrow intruded.

There is no mistaking them. About the size of a sparrow or finch, the male has a chestnut breast with a bright blue head and back. The female lacks the brighter coloring of its mate and appears gray from a distance, but its cerulean feathers become more pronounced when it draws near. Their song is so subtle that at first you may miss it. The low-pitched warble is as sweet as the fruit they prefer during the fall.

This morning sunlight streaks across the scarlet and gold leaves of maple and black birch trees. For the next hour, the birds remain. They wing from one nesting box to another, often returning to the one from which they fledged. And then suddenly they are gone.

I hope to be here during those waning days of March should they decide to return.


  1. Robyn Hill-Stitson Says:

    I thoroughly enjoy your posts. You are an exceptional author. I have read your books over and over again. I look forward to future books. Thank you.

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