Crash Landing

The kitchen window is often the spot through which I see all sorts of wildlife passing by. Ms. Foxy trots along the neighboring fence line each morning around ten o’clock. The red-tailed hawk perches in the old hackberry tree most mornings, and the little sparrows hang out in the forsythia bush just below the kitchen window. Every so often, a skunk, armadillo or opossum meanders by on its way into the woodlands down below the slope just behind the house. A hopper-style bird feeder sits in the distance where I watch winter birds feeding in the early morning sun. While I wash dishes or prepare meals, I find myself entertained by all of the passers-by on the north side of the house.

The spot on the window where the bluebird crashed. I later found a few stray bluebird feathers stuck on the window, where they remained for nearly a week.
I found the bluebird lying directly under the kitchen window. It was breathing, but unable to move.
I had never seen a bluebird this close. The feathers were a stunning blue.

As I was washing up breakfast dishes this morning, the awful sound of a THUMP on the window, caused me to grab a towel to dry my hands and run outside. There I found a male Eastern Bluebird lying on the ground just under the forsythia bush. I could see it breathing so I knew it was still alive, but whether it was injured or not remained to be seen. I gently laid the towel over the bird so as to keep from frightening it further, picked it up, and carried it to the back porch.

Next, FD and I did a quick examination, but did not finding anything obviously wrong. I placed an old basket on its side and put the bird, still wrapped in the kitchen towel, inside the basket to protect it from the wind. Then I draped another towel over the opening to create a quiet atmosphere where the bird could rest. Every ten minutes or so we ventured out to take a peek to see how the injured bird was doing.

After fifteen minutes, our friend had emerged from the towel I had collected him with and, within thirty minutes, he was perched inside the basket. A few minutes later, he flew off to a nearby hackberry tree, where FD and I saw other bluebirds join him. I wondered if this little flock of bluebirds looked after each other, and if they had wondered about him during his absence? For a few minutes more, the flock of bluebirds sunned themselves on the branches and then flew off into the woodlands. Watching them leave, I felt a bit better about the well-being of that little bluebird, just knowing it was in the company of its mates now.

Peeking into the basket, I noticed our friend was venturing out from the security of the kitchen towel.
Having regained footing and its wits, the male bluebird finally flew off successfully and landed in a nearby tree.

May we all get the help we need in the New Year, and be surrounded by blue birds of happiness when we need them the most.

© 2018 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…


41 thoughts on “Crash Landing

    1. Bluebirds are common here, but I see them mostly in the winter months. I have a heated bird bath at the back porch and they gather around early mornings for water and a little sun.

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  1. Thank you for helping the blue bird. Thankfully it turned out okay. We hav ribbons on our front and back windows as we’ve had too many birds fly into them. The long strips of colorful ribbons seem to do the trick. I use to hate that thump sound. You’re a sweetheart for taking the time to help it. Happy New Year 💝

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    1. Paulette, hanging ribbons is a great idea. Our kitchen window is really the only window we have this trouble with. I am so glad this story had a good ending. It certainly was a beautiful bird, and it’s mates seemed happy to gather around it after it took flight.

      Happy New Year to you too!! ❤

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    1. That basket was one I kept handy near the back porch for gloves, hats and scarves. I just emptied it out quickly to make a shelter for the bird. I had no idea that bird would poo in it so much. I had quite a job cleaning that mess up and my kitchen towel too! Ha ha! Live and learn!

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    1. Actually, I do remember that song! I also remember seeing a lot of those little blue glass figures in the window of an elderly friend. When we moved here I was taken aback by the beautiful bluebirds. I see them mostly in winter, but I’ve noticed them in the summer months along the river woodlands.

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    2. I don’t like to but in on other’s conversations, but I hadn’t ever known about this song. As I listened I could understand why Jan Peerce was inspired to write it. At or near the end of WWII (1945) I am sure it was well received! I am always amazed at the breadth of your knowledge, Steve. So glad you shared this.

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      1. I certainly don’t mind you joining in, Lynda, and I think Lori welcomes you too. The Wikipedia article about the song says: “The 1945 recording became a worldwide hit for Peerce, outselling all his many operatic recordings, and becoming second only to Enrico Caruso’s 1918 recording of George M. Cohan’s ‘Over There’ among the best-selling RCA Victor records made by opera and concert singers.” Coincidentally, the year 1945 holds a special place for me.

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        1. Everyone is welcome to comment on comments! The only reason I know the song is that my Grandma played piano and she had the piece – though she rarely played it because it was difficult for us kids to sing. We were more fond of “Lonely Little Robin” and also “Mocking Bird Hill” . My Grandmother loved all birds, but especially the little sparrows, thus, her favorite was, “His Eye is on the Sparrow”. Thank you both for taking me down memory lane… I needed that this morning. ❤

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  2. What a lovely story on NYE (for me). Oddly, I have just read another bird post from today as well, and my Instagram photo from yesterday was of a blue feather I found amongst the dried leaves. I wonder if it is a ‘sign’ of something? That is a gorgeous little bird, such vibrant colour. We get birds flying into our windows frequently and we either find they are a bit stunned and recover or they break their necks and are gone. Fortunately it is usually that they are just stunned. I’ve done what you did for a few of them and they generally do recover fairly quickly–much more quickly than I would!!! Wishing you much happiness and all good things for 2019! xx

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    1. Oh, you know I believe in signs, Ardys! Sometimes the message is not evident. This maybe be one that we’ll understand later when some other sign presents itself. To me, blue is a calm color and feathers represent lightness and flight. I’m not sure I gin with that “bluebird of happiness” business, but they are certainly a beautiful bird that we see often here, and they do make me smile when I see them!

      I’m sending good wishes to you for happiness and adventure in 2019!❤

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  3. Bless that baby’s heart. I am so glad it was ok and that it was able to fly away under his or her own steam. Years ago I had a bluebird nesting box project with about 60 plus houses. When I went back to work I was not able to keep my project going and so it all fell by the way side. I had my houses mounted on pipe with the pipe greased with boat grease. I went the extra mile to try to keep predators from climbing up the box and crawling inside or reaching inside. I had the boxes made special to try to make it difficult for raccoons to reach inside. Now, I have no idea where my plans are for the house. Have you ever thought of putting up any houses? And do you put suet out for them? Literature says they only eat insects and berries so maybe you have plenty of food for the ones that winter in your area.

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    1. My goodness!! That’s a lot of bluebird houses!! I do remember around here when there was such a project going on. Some local farmer’s wives got involved and we still see many of the bluebird houses along driveways and other open areas. When we first moved here we built some squirrel homes and bird houses, but all sorts of varmints took them over (squirrels and raccoons mostly) and it just got to be too much to keep them repaired and deter damage.

      I used to make my own suet, but haven’t managed that in many years. I notice the bluebirds manage insects year-round. We are far enough south that insects manage to present themselves most days. I do not see the bluebirds at the feeders much but they do come to the heated birdbath on the back porch a LOT. And they perch on my clothesline post every day, looking down for insects! They are a sight to behold!

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      1. Lori, you lucky people who get to see bluebirds every day. I would give anything to have them in my yard but there are too many trees on my property and the general area. They simply must have open spaces and fields, because- well that is how they evolved. I have other species but the bluebird has always been my favorite. A heated bird bath is quite the thing for attracting wildlife. Wish I had one but- oh well, one can not have everything. I really want a circulating shallow pool of water. Hopefully I can get that before long and if my health holds out.

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  4. Wow, he sure is BLUE! How nice that he was able to get on his way as if nothing ever happened.
    Right about where South Peebly Road ends or makes that sharp left turn into something else, I saw my very first male cardinal. I could not believe how bright red he was. Is that the area where the trees were all torn upward from a tornado a few years prior to 2012?

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    1. Well, goodness, I don’t know if there was a tornado in that area or not in 2012, but if the tree tops were jagged and torn up it’s very likely there was one.

      Cardinals are common on our property. At any given time I might see six or eight males, with just as many female around. Years ago we saw what we believed to be either a full or partial albino cardinal in the woodlands just below our home. Cardinals are one of my favorite birds. They are commonly seen to assist other birds species when fledgings are leaving nests, to call out when predators are lurking nearby. They are alertists, like the squirrels are in the woodlands.

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      1. It was a double tornado prior to 2012. There was a mural of it at the Country Boy Market on Highway 9 just west of Harrah Road near Little Axe. I don’t think it was a serious tornado, but happened to be enough to strip the trees clean, and chase those in the market at the time into the freezers. That cardinal that I saw there was the only one I had ever seen.

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  5. Oh my – the universe was sending you a smile and treasure, but it came in a little too fast – (or did it? IS anything coincidental HAHA)
    I’ve never seen a bird so blue – like elegant jewel
    WOW what a lovely ending/start to a new year.
    May the warmth of whimsy, joy, and hope wrap around you all year long!

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    1. I’m sure there was a message from our little friend, but other than “taking time to heal and be resilient” I can’t think of another reason for such a beauty to take a knock like that. I am so happy the bird recovered and that I was able to get a few photos of the recovery.

      “Whimsy, joy and hope” are wonderful wishes, my friend. May you experience the same! ❤

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  6. My county of Rice is one of the top bluebird places in the state, if not the country. A guy from my hometown lives in my community and is known as Mr. Bluebird. He is the one who has set up bluebird nest boxes throughout the county, checks them weekly, trains volunteers and educates about bluebirds.

    Thank you for rescuing this injured bluebird and for then writing about it and connecting it to “bluebirds of happiness in 2019.” Happy New Year, my friend!

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    1. Thank goodness for people like Mr. Bluebird! I often think we need to have people involved in such ways to speak to young children about nature and our part in keeping the environment wild.

      Happy New Year to you too, Audrey! May you have many beautiful adventures in 2019!

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  7. So happy you took care of the little bluebird until he was able to fly again, Lori! Bluebirds are known to live in family groups, so it’s very possible those were indeed his family waiting for him. And the blue color of this bird (and other blue birds like Blue Jays) isn’t actually pigment in the feathers. We see blue because of the structure of their feathers…it’s a trick of the eye. Here’s a post that explains this phenomenon better: https://www.acsh.org/news/2016/06/30/blue-birds-arent-blue-this-is-how-they-fool-you.

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    1. Well, I’m flabbergasted!! Another “trick” of nature. I had no idea about this – and oddly, most birding websites do not even note this phenomenon. I usually go to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology for quick reference. Thank you so much for informing all of us about “blue color” in feathers and for providing the link. I learn so much from you, Kim! Thanks for being at the ready to educate me!

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  8. Such a blue, blue bird. I’ve never seen such a vibrant one; in fact, I don’t think I’ve seen more than a dozen bluebirds altogether, and those were in Kansas City, where my aunt enjoyed feeding them and putting up nesting boxes. I’m glad you were there to care for this one. I’ve had a few pigeons and doves fly into my sliding glass doors, but they’re larger, a bit more padded, and all were able to fly off fairly quickly.

    I’m wondering now if the boxes I see scattered around our wildlife refuges are bluebird boxes. I need to check that out. I suspect they might be, since they’re in the middle of fields where there’s a nice, clear flight path into the boxes. I think I remember reading that bluebirds like to fly into their boxes, rather than perching on top and then hopping in. So much to learn!

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    1. I bet those were bluebird boxes. I remember a program some years ago, and many of the farmer’s wives around here participated. Here, I see them on our property at the edge of the woods in the winter, but in summer they are in the fields of the leased property along the river and on the area of our property we’ve called “The nursery” where we find fawns resting. It’s always a treat to see bluebirds in the warmer months.

      We’ve rarely had birds hit the windows here. Maybe three in eleven years. The other two I remember, were cardinals that hit the sliding glass doors at the back porch. That strikes me odd too because those doors sit way back into the porch and they are not plain windows but have metal cross strips in them (to look like small window panes).

      Interesting that you remark on flight paths to nesting boxes. Flight patterns and wing beats are how I often recognize a bird. I never thought I’d ever know much about birds, but I’m continually outdoors and I learn. Nature is a forever teacher!

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      1. My sliding glass doors are well inset into the balcony area, too, and there’s no way a bird would think they could fly through, as they apparently do when windows are across from one another. There’s usually a hawk involved; when panic sets in, the sudden flight isn’t necessarily well-planned.

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        1. You know, a hawk could have been involved here too. Just last week a red-tailed hawk was perched on the back porch railing waiting to pick off a bird at the heated bird bath. We often see them lurking in the trees not far off. We’ve seen a lot of squirrels picked off by the hawks this year too. I am pretty sure that’s how Buddy may have met his end. Punkin is still alive and well though. She comes on rainy days looking for pecans!

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  9. I am sitting here reading this and just heard another bird thunk on that dinning room window. You know the one. I moved the bird feeder to be near that spot in the corner. I get more customers, and many more varieties in this new position, and also more thunks. 😦 In reading your comments this morning I am convinced to make something to warn them from flying into the glass! I have rescued a few birds who like your lovely blue bird had knocked themselves silly. So far, all but one, a cardinal, have recovered from their encounter with ‘solid air’.

    A beautiful bird, a lovely outcome, and a great post, Lori. ❤

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    1. Thank you, Lynda. Oddly, I have lost two cardinals at the back porch windows. It’s two sliding glass doors with a pane design that sits well into the porch. It’s odd they would crash into those doors of all places! Every other bird that has “thunked” into glass around here has survived.

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