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Somewhere _ _ _ , Bluebirds Fly

Story ID:538
Written by:Kathe M. Campbell (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Butte Montana USA
Person:Western Montana Bluebirds
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Somewhere _ _ _ , Bluebirds Fly

Somewhere _ _ _ , Bluebirds Fly

Somewhere _ _ _ , Bluebirds Fly

Somewhere _ _ _ , Bluebirds Fly

Somewhere _ _ _, Bluebirds Fly
by Kathe Campbell

God help anyone who wants meals, laundry, or email, for I'm in my annual Western Mountain Bluebird mode these days. Clinging to my cappuccino and my binoculars, nary a soul can wheedle me off my deck. I don't know why bluebirds never graced our town digs, but I'll not waste time fretting over what never was. The fact is, living upon a 7,000 foot Montana mountain surrounded by forest and field, I've been blessed with these beloved beauties.

Years ago I bought several bluebird boxes from the Sheltered Workshop. These talented young folks with Cerebral Palsy and Down Syndrome do a remarkable job constructing outdoor furniture and bird sanctuaries. They're specially designed for our various summer birds, and in Montana, that's oft little more than August, but I adore hosting them. The builders even provide instruction brochures with each dwelling to be followed to the letter.

My husband, Ken, was an ardent fan of the blue flash and their more subtle brides that flitter around our place each May or June. He loved watching the couples doing their inspection of each house he had so carefully hung according to directions. Never in the woods, but out in the open, not too high or close to neighbors, and generally facing north or east. And most important of all, the rentals must be perfectly clean each year, nobody's disgusting housekeeping left-overs.

After Corky's first spring haircut in April, I spread a good sized bag of his doggy underwear out in the south pasture. I've watched fat mother robins picking the stuff up by the beak-full time and again, her downies to have nothing but the best. Unfortunately, by the time the bluebirds show, the cussed pesky gophers have pilfered it all and run down their holes trailing hoards of the stuff.

For over 25 years, at least one, but more often three loving couples have chosen our high quality rentals over the slum lords down the road. I keep telling those folks to spiffy up their act when they beller about their lack of the finicky blues. My rentals are old, but clean, and that makes a heap of difference in the laying of six to eight tiny blue eggs.

Some husbands help with the nest building, but generally it's the mama who insists on her own decor. Then after she lays her eggs, the brilliant males are kept on a continuous state of alert, satisfying her hunger pangs dawn 'til dark. And, of course, after the hatch, both parents all but meet each other coming and going as they feed their squawking brood.

Earlier this spring, just before the last wet snowstorm, a young bright blue male flew onto the place with two lackluster ladies in tow. Two, I mused? This must be some wild and crazy guy. First, one lady flew into a house, then she emerged and the other lady made her walk-through. Then the two battled fiercely in mid air while the male nervously turned circles on the fence. After checking out all the rentals, they disappeared until yesterday. I haven't the slightest notion what he did with
the girlfriend, but he and the wife must have reconciled, for they chose #1 out at the front gate.

I must be a fair landlord, for a most remarkable event took place several years ago that you may or may not chose to believe, but it's true. It was a three couple year, two returnees and a new pair, his feathers alight in the most vivid and brilliant sapphire I'd seen yet. There was no mistaking him as he often hung around our deck up in the firs serenading his sweet two-toned song. He was the perfect father, tending to his mate and helping to feed the brood. Then, one day as we watched their typical lively morning chores, the children emerged from inside the house to sit at the doorway or on the roof. Our day came to a halt while we glassed and scoped each child anxiously spreading it's new wings in preparation for the maiden voyage. It's a long process, as some kids jump off with abandon to make chancy ground landings. Others wait around forever before liftoff, the nearby parents acting as air traffic controllers.

Much to our amazement, the entire family gathered in a nearby fir. Without hesitation, the brilliant blue male flew down, landing next to me on the bench. He looked straight up into my face, cocking his head from side to side, issuing tiny throaty sounds. I froze solid! Just as sure as shootin', I heard him say . . . "Thanks Mrs. C. for the great headquarters for our family. We'll be back again next year!" He and his crew flew off while Ken and I sat dumbfounded with mouths agape. And as promised, our striking blue beauty did return for several more years. When at last we never saw him again, our hearts near broke.

"And so, papa dear . . . the bluebirds have graced our ranch again this year. I wonder if last year's couples miss you as much as Corky and I do? "