My new bluebird friend, Ralph and Alice, and more!

It’s been a crazy-busy weekend!  Our northern Illinois spring has been rather winter-like.  But the days are getting longer and I know one day the sun will shine, it will be warm, and dandelions will dot the landscape overnight.

Saturday, April 13

It was winter-like with snow swirling as I took my new bluebird friend, Ken, for a tour of my bluebird monitor route on Saturday morning.  Ken is a new monitor in our forest preserve district natural resources volunteer group and he’ll be taking the second route I had for the last two years.  Ken seems like a more experienced birder than I, but since he was unable to attend the annual data analysis and training session in February, he didn’t know much about our monitoring program.  We walked the route and Ken practiced the proper way to approach and open a wild bird nest box.  We went over data collection and reporting.  We rummaged through the gear in my backpack … flashlight, auto mechanic mirror, paint scraper, deodorant soap, eco-friendly household cleaner, weak bleach solution, brushes, plastic gloves, silicon spray, old towel to wipe silicon, duct tape, scissors, old plastic grocery bag, volunteer parking permit tags.  We didn’t spy any bluebirds but we saw some Sapsuckers and some White Breasted Nuthatches playing tag in the forest. It was fun to see Ken’s excitement about the experiences he’s likely to encounter.  Later that day he emailed me about going out to his route to prepare the boxes for the season.

I checked my chickadee nest box as I have been every weekend since I put it up in my yard on Valentine’s Day.  It seems as if some of those birch bark chips have been removed.  It’s still too cold for nesting, but time is moving on and I have not yet spied those Black Capped Chickadees at the box!  I wonder if Lucy and Ricky will be back this year.

Sunday, April 14

Hummingbird feeder ready for first spring visitors.

Hummingbird Feeder In Readiness!

The day dawned cold, windy and gray.  But the weather man was right.  Later on the sun came out, the sky was blue and it was fairly warm.  I went about filling bird feeders including my humming bird feeder for the first time this season.  Those hummers are still showing far to the south on the hummingbird migration map.  Still down in Central Illinois.  But as I always do, I put up the feeder in mid-April which is about when, on average, they show up in my part of the world.

While tending to my bird feeders, what did I spy?  A chickadee pair yonder in the pine tree taking turns flitting in and out of the nest box!  OMG!  Are Lucy and Ricky back?  I grabbed my camera and zoomed in to see what I could see.  No!  It’s not Ricky and Lucy.  It’s.  It’s.  Why, look!  It’s Ralph and  Alice!  I got a shot of Ralph waiting patiently for Alice to exit before he took his turn in the box.

Black Capped Chickadee at Chickadee Bird House Entry

Black Capped Chickadee at Chickadee Bird House Entry

Bluebirds, Hummingbirds, and Chickadees!  Just another typical spring weekend.

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7 Responses to My new bluebird friend, Ralph and Alice, and more!

  1. Deb Platt says:

    What a lovely portrait of Ralph! I’m glad that he and Alice decided to move into the neighborhood. 🙂

  2. Your chickadees (which we don’t have in the UK) are related to our long-tailed tits. We currently have a nesting pair that frequents our yard. I promise, next post but one photos of birds boxes etc. Tell you what kind of a mind I have: when you referred to your “bluebird friend”, I thought Ken was an actual bluebird! Did cotton on eventually. Love the dramatic looking humming bird feeder (another bird we don’t have here).

    • I don’t blame you for thinking Ken was a bird. I tend to give them names. After all, last year’s Chickadee pair were named Lucy and Ricky. I named my ceramic cat Gautier. Aktar is the name I gave to my small dragon sculpture and Purba is the crocodile design on my Tibetan rug. My human friends? I usually just call them by their given names, though.

  3. Bob says:

    Chickadees just might be my favorite bird family. Not around here in the desert, of course, but they make the drive to Oregon worthwhile. How great to have them nesting in your bird house!

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