The Love Shack

The Love Shack

Friday, June 9, 2017


It's Friday! It's a beautiful sunny warm day in early June! Angie's birthday is tomorrow. We start the Peregrine Falcon fledge watch next week. I wasn't going to blog for a bit but after this morning's events, I have to, I need to get it out of my system. And reaching out to others who give a shit like myself might help. I'm sure the blog title gives enough away that something bad happened. I decided to check the boxes close to home before the busy days ahead. I'm stoked about the Bluebirds, staying positive despite the setbacks. I checked a few other boxes first and saw my first hatched Tree Swallows. There are 6 in this box. It's a crappy phone photo but it's for the record and to share here.
I check another Tree Swallow box and once again find myself face to face with this female. This is the third time in 4 weeks where I've checked this box and she has been inside every time. What gives?
I pass another Tree Swallow nest box and eyes are upon me.
As I near the Bluebird area, I see an adult male. It must be dad!
I was happy to see a few Butterfly species including Monarch, Canadian Swallowtail and a Black Swallowtail. It's been a while since I saw this species, meaning a couple years. What a treat! Man I am having such a great morning. I am distracted from my purpose of this outing because of the Black Swallowtail. I happily snap some photos and got a couple cool accidental captures. Neat that I got a couple other insect species flying in with the first shot.
Traditional still pose.
In flight and respectably clear for my old camera body.
Okay, back to what I am here for... check on the young Bluebirds. I open the box and am shocked how much they have grown in the last 7 days. They stirred with my quick peek but went back to sleep.
I close the box back up and am about to make a fast exit, hoping I haven't upset the parents too much when I spot something in the grass and it's got blue feathers. Talk about a really hard slap to the face, taking that grin from me in a flash. This is what I found.
Bluebird remains. FCUK! But who is it? Is it mom? I haven't seen her today, but I did last Friday. Is it dad? Did I not just see him? Or is that another male? The remaining feathers are very dark blue which I don't associate with females but I really don't know. I'm very confused. I'm trying really hard not to be sad about this. I am having moments where I wish I never knew about these Bluebirds that have tried to nest near our home. I wish whoever set these boxes up never did. I wish I never threw myself into this, trying to ensure they had proper nest boxes to raise young in. I mean, I was doing a good job of that as the nests did stay dry through the wet Spring and none fell off their posts after some minor repairs. But what I couldn't do was protect them from everything. Those negative things I thought, the feelings I'm battling with, I turn around momentarily. I think about the joy of seeing these beautiful birds so close to our home. I've spent a lot of time focusing on them, not just when in their presence and territory, but even after the fact, thinking about them while working and elsewhere. It's been some real highs and some of the lowest of the lows I've felt while watching over wild birds and their young. It makes me nervous about next week with our Peregrines. We've had 50% mortality 2 years in a row. I helped one morning at the Mississauga site, almost like a bit of a warm up, and sadly one of their two young birds lost it's life to a window strike earlier this week. It's a dark reality and I try really hard to suck this up, mentally prepare for the choas that can occur at the Falcon watch; but this Bluebird stuff has really hit. It's not about liking Bluebirds more than another bird species. It's the emotional investment. I don't know if I have enough to share among everything at this time of year. It's suddenly too much in such a short span of time. Bluebirds, Tree Swallows, Peregrine Falcons, my Pigeon friends and local Raccoons at home. *sigh* I wonder what got this Bluebird. To me it does seem to be a victim of predation as it's picked pretty clean. I've seen Cooper's Hawks in the area since I discovered it. I found a Screech Owl here last November. This is the Screech in a tree very near where months later I found the Bluebirds and the box
I ask myself if these young Bluebirds need help? Since I don't know, I won't do anything. I have to remind myself as well that this is nature. This stuff happens all the time. Nature is beautiful and harsh. But I can't write this off just yet. Let's see how this plays out in the coming days. I won't be waiting another week to check on them. Unfortunately I cannot sit there and watch the box all this afternoon either and try to assess this any further. It will be a mystery until next visit. Let's hope I find the 2 still alive and well. Thanks for reading this as unhappy as it's turned out to be. Thank you for following me on this journey. Stay tuned... work becons now.


  1. Aw, I can certainly feel your pain!!! I too will keep my fingers crossed that all is well in the next check.

  2. I totally get your emotions associated with this blog. It's all about the emotional investment you can't help but make when you get involved. It's so painful when any of the birdies meet an untimely end ... even though you know that they are generally (but not always) victims of a natural predator.... especially when they are in the middle of raising their babies. Fingers crossed that the bluebird babies still have a parent involved who can feed them and that they are still alive when you check on them next. Beautiful butterfly pics you included.