For several weeks, I have been photographing the courtship rituals of the bluebirds in my backyard. It's an invasion of their privacy, I suppose, but I can't resist the temptation of watching these beautiful creatures through my telephoto lens. To be honest, I'm beginning to feel a bit like the photographer in Hitchcock's Rear Window who constantly spies on his neighbors while convalescing from an injury.
For the most part, the bluebirds have been tolerant of my intrusive behavior. A few days ago, however, I began to sense a slight shift in the dynamics of our relationship. After taking a few photos with the camera mounted on a tripod, I sat down in a patio chair for a moment, only to discover seconds later that the bluebird I had been photographing was now perched on top of my camera about six feet away. My first thought, of course, was that my camera's resistance to bird droppings was about to be tested. As the bird stared at me intently, however, I realized that his rather intimate visit was for the limited purpose of giving me a polite warning. He seemed to appreciate the nice accommodations that my wife and I have provided, but appeared concerned that my photo-taking frenzy each evening was complicating his courtship advances.
Thus cautioned, I decided to give the bluebirds a break for a few days. No good deed goes unpunished, however, so it was only a day or so later that a very aggressive young fellow -- presumably the guy who commandeered my camera earlier -- began flying with great abandon into the rear window of my sun room. Unfortunately, these reckless missions have not abated for the past four or five days. Indeed, the assaults are coming with such regularity that I am beginning to think less about Rear Window and more about another Hitchcock classic, The Birds.
Preparing for Another Assault
Concerned about the bluebird's physical welfare, my wife taped various objects on the window pane in the hopes of discouraging the incessant head-banging. Nothing was successful, however, so I decided this morning to place my camera on a tripod inside the house and aim it through the window in the direction of the bluebird. He would either be discouraged by the camera, I reasoned, or I would get some good shots. Stubborn little guy that he is, he decided upon the latter course, continuing to fly into the window pane until dizziness sent him back to the nearby limb for a brief respite before the next assault.
After taking the photos shown in this posting, I put the camera away and continued to search for a solution to the bluebird's problem, short of opening the window and letting him apply for adoption. Within moments, however, the problem was resolved by none other than a delicate female who perched on a garden structure nearby and stared at the male in the same disbelief that I had been feeling for days. Prompted by the sheer pulchritude of Her Loveliness, the male withdrew from his insane head-banging activities and returned to what he should have been doing in the first place.
Hopefully, the little male bluebird has come to his senses and will stop these kamikaze missions. One thing is for sure, however: he is still keeping an eye on me!