Monday, May 17, 2010


"The bluebird carries the sky on his back."


On almost any summer evening, usually after the sun falls behind the trees, the dance of the bluebirds begins in my backyard.  The seven photos in this posting were taken at the dance just two days ago.  

It was a lovely little courting scene.  The male was the first to arrive at the finial of a garden structure. Moments later, the female joined him, but made it clear that she was looking for something more than just a social visit.  A nice dinner, maybe?  At that point, the male left for a few minutes and returned with a fresh spider.  The very sight of the offering drove the female into a state of ecstasy, but the male was not prepared to deliver until things calmed down a bit. After a moment of reflection, however, he turned and dropped spider into the expectant beak of the female.  As soon as the tasty morsel was devoured, the female flitted off to some other destination, presumably checking out other suitors, while the male, now appearing somewhat desolate, found solitude in a nearby willow.  Things will work out, of course; they do every spring.

"If there is not response in you to the awakening of nature -- if the prospect of an early morning walk does not banish sleep, if the warble of the first bluebird does not thrill you -- know that the morning and spring of your life are past.  Thus may you feel your pulse."

". . . over our heads will float the Blue Bird singing of beautiful and impossible things, of things that are lovely and than never happen, of things that are not and that should be."

Oscar Wilde, The Decay of Lying: An Observation

And so remember this, 
Life is no abyss,
Somewhere there's a bluebird 
of happiness.
Life is sweet, tender and complete,
When you find the bluebird
of happiness.

Bluebird of Happiness, lyrics by Edward
Heyman and Harry Parr Davies

Blue skies Smiling at me
Nothing but blue skies do I see
Bluebirds Singing a song
Nothing but bluebirds All day long.

Irving Berlin, Blue Skies 

"Full of innocent vivacity, warbling its ever pleasing notes, and familiar as any bird can be in its natural freedom, it is one of the most agreeable of our feathered favorites.  The pure azure of its mantel, and the glow of its breast, render it conspicuous, as it flits through the orchards and gardens, crosses the fields or meadows, or hops along the roadside."
John James Audubon


  1. This post is a real treat for me, George. We are not graced by those beautiful creatures this far north.

    What amazing shots you captured! The one with the wings open took my breath away. And your description of their dance and poetic reflections on nature in general and bluebirds in particular was the perfect pairing.

    I am already anticipating the great photos you will bring back, and hopefully share, from your walk across the U.K.

  2. Beautiful, post. I enjoyed the wonderful photos and commentary while listening in my mind to Sarah Vaughan's version of the Irving Berlin classic that you cite.

  3. Bonnie --

    Thanks for the kind comments, Bonnie. I never tire of watching these bluebirds. Each time I see one, I feel that I am seeing a bluebird for the first time in my life.

  4. Thanks, Lorenzo. If you were able to enjoy the bluebird photos while listening in your mind to Sarah Vaughan sing "Blue Skies," I have done something worthwhile today. A great vocalist, a great composer -- great creatures, I suppose, just like bluebirds.

  5. This was just a wonderful post, George—and your top photo is terrific! Loved the quotes, and even more so your account. I seldom see bluebirds here along the river as it's just a bit too woodsy for them. Surely they must count among the most beautiful of birds. You are a lucky man…and I expect, by Thoreau's reckoning, still filled heart-full with the wonderment of nature—and bluebirds.

  6. Grizz--

    Thanks for the note. We are lucky, indeed, to have so many bluebirds in the area in which I live. I cherish each and everyone of them. And you're right -- I am still overwhelmed by the wonderment of nature. Whether one is looking for excitement, solace, or a touch of the divine, it can always be found in the natural world.

  7. these photos are almost as good as being there.. Love the little creatures... thank you!!

  8. Gwen --

    Thanks for the comment. The bluebirds are happy to get all the love they can, including yours.

  9. What a lovely set of photographs, I do hope that his lady friend came back! Bluebirds are really beautiful, you are lucky to have them in your garden.

  10. I was visiting my friend in Knox Maine. This morning I went out on his porch and low and behold a bluebird landed on his lawn and then flew off...It was amazing as I have never seen a bluebird before.

    1. Congratulations on your first bluebird sighting, Cherijean. May you encounter many more in life!