A year ago I volunteered to prune a neighbour’s cherry orchard in exchange for some cherries. After all, I was short of fruit trees and she had recently lost her husband. This transaction has its benefits, even beyond our friendship. I was there on Sunday, when the Western Mountain Bluebirds showed up.
Bluebird in a Sandra Rose Cherry Tree
Pretty blue, huh!
These grassland birds don’t travel alone by choice.
The weeds they are perching on were an orchard ten years ago, but was given up as age weakened the farmer’s ability to keep up to the work. For a time, the bluebirds are using it in the spring. Some day, it will be productive farmland again. Where will the bluebirds go then? The subdivision up the hill installed bluebird nesting boxes all along its walking trails. Few, if any, are used. I don’t know the answer, but I know this: these birds make life worthwhile. I talked with people at the library today, where I’ve been Writer in Residence these last six weeks (with three more to go). It went something like this:
Harold: How do you stand it? Being in this building all day, when it’s spring outside? There are bluebirds!
Librarian: It’s hard. I want to be out on the lake.
Other Librarian: You do what you gotta do.
I think that’s very wise. We gotta do what we gotta do. Everyone, let’s all skip work for a day and go out and sow some weed seeds for the birds, or maybe honour an old apple tree that is big enough for them to perch on, such as this old Macintosh tree, near those cherries…
For the moment, I suspect this flock is nesting in flicker holes in the decaying peach orchard at the top of the weeds. That’ll give me a year, not long, to straighten out those nesting boxes. After all, if the sky can’t fly down to you, it’s not the sky.