Birds of the Lowcountry
It’s just a few days after Mother’s Day and all I can say is, “Thank the Lord I’m not a mama Eastern Bluebird!”
I say that because watching a clutch of baby bluebirds just hatched at my home near Bluffton makes me tired watching the care their mama gives them, and of course the daddy bluebird too, with Father’s Day right around the corner, gets some credit also.
But all jokes aside, between the two of them, they have worked their little “tail-feathers” off caring for these newborns.
I’d been watching their courtship and setting up their housekeeping since around the middle of April.
First, I noticed a male and female bluebird checking out the nesting place, a small wooden “bat house” with a slanted bottom that was made and given to us by our nephew and then tacked on the front of our pump house.
When the spot had been decided on and the female bluebird accompanied the male bluebird through the entrance hole of the box, that meant the bond was complete and it was “family-raising” time.
During their nest-building of three to four days they could be spotted resting, perched on an electrical wire a short distance away, and the male could be seen feeding the female, always the perfect gentleman. After the nest was finished, the female could be seen going in and out of the box for five or six days laying her eggs, and then she stayed in.
Aha, the incubation period had started, right around Easter.
Evidently, her clutch had hatched a few days before Mother’s Day because shortly thereafter I spotted three little mouths wide open at the opening of the nesting box, waiting for mama to feed them.
As I write this, the fledglings have feathered out but still have a few days before they leave the nest, and during this time they keep both parents busy bringing them insects to dine on, all the while between feed-ups keeping the nest box clean of the babies’ debris.
If humans, in general, were as diligent and caring for their young as these parent bluebirds have been raising their brood we would have no need for social services involving children.
Speaking of children, school is out for the summer and the heat of June has started in full force.
Being out of school doesn’t necessarily mean young folk should let the brain go on vacation too. Glancing over my calendar and almanac I see some noted authors have birthdays in the month of June, offering up some good reading.
Also spotted were other tidbits of interesting and educational facts.
Tidbits of info for the month of June
William Butler Yeats, Irish born June 13, 1865, was considered to be one of the greatest poets of the 20th century. One of his quotes reads: “But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet; tread softly because you tread on my dreams.”
Harriet Beecher Stowe, born June 14, 1811 in Litchfield, Connecticut, was an American abolitionist and author of more than 30 published books with one of the most influential novels written in America being the controversial anti-slavery novel, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.”
Pearl S. Buck, born June 26, 1892 in Hillsboro, West Virginia, wrote the best-selling fiction book in the United States in 1931 and 1932, “The Good Earth,” and she won the Pulitzer Prize and Nobel Prize for Literature.
Helen Keller, born June 27, 1880 in Tuscumbia, Alabama, was an American author and the first deaf-blind person to earn a bachelor of arts degree. Her book, “The Story of My Life” was adapted into film and stage, “The Miracle Worker.” One of her quotes reads: ”The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched — they must be felt with the heart.”
Wind up the last day of June, the 30th, by reading a book authored by Georgia-born Margaret Mitchell who was born on that day in 1880. Her book “Gone with the Wind” went on sale in 1936 after taking nine frustrating years to write. It has become the best-selling novel in American literature, being published in over 40 countries and adapted into the famed movie of the same name.
Two last tidbits of info: Tennessee became the 16th state June 1, 1796, known as the Volunteer State, a nickname earned by the prominent role played by soldiers volunteering during several wars. West Virginia became the 35th state on June 20, 1863, with the motto “Mountaineers are always free” reflecting the history and identity of the state.
Not only is June in the summer time good for bird-watching and catching up on some reading, it’s also a good month to go fishing, with water and air temperatures rising. Grab a fishing pole, bait it and good luck catching your fish for supper.