doodle by andre: let’s get on with it, let’s get it on

WI TOLD ANDRE ABOUT the male Eastern Bluebird’s annual rite of spring, the so-called Nest Demonstration Display, I didn’t think he believed me. It’s a little bait and switch in which the boy bird (in Andre Jordan‘s depiction, Darius) carries a twig or two around in his beak and makes a big show near the entrance to his proposed nest box or tree cavity. In and out he goes with those twigs as props, as if to say, “Look, gorgeous, I’m decorating a house for us. I’m your man.” But you know how it goes with men, don’t you? (Aren’t I just awful?)
The thing is, the male bluebird never lifts a beak to really build the nest. He’s a faker, but a handsome one (in real life, his back and head are a brilliant royal blue and only his breast is reddish). No matter the hijinks; the female falls for it, happily giving up the goods. Then she has to build herself and the kids a nest and tackle all the other housekeeping chores, too. A woman’s work, as it has been said, is never done.

I didn’t make this up. Promise. I read about it on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology All About Birds site and watch it out my window every spring about this time.

5 comments
April 1, 2010

comments

  1. says

    All those fancy feathers — we fall for them every time! Well, not every male bird is lazy — I’ve been watching Molly the barn owl and her mate McGee as she’s hatched four (one egg remaining) owlets in the their owl box in San Marcos CA (google it, over 4 million hits to the uStream site!). McGee brings her beheaded rodents all night long! So take a lesson, Darius! Help out a bit!

  2. says

    So happy to find your blog and website! It’s a gem!
    I love bluebirds and have been observing them for years in a bluebird house in my yard. I’ve enjoyed watching the relationship between the male and female. It is a team; it really is. Just wait. The male bluebird actually does a great job taking care of his family. First, he feeds the female while she’s sitting on the eggs. And when the eggs first hatch, the female won’t leave the nest. So he feeds her then too. BOTH birds work to feed the babies. He will also help tidy the nest by removing the fecal sacs from the house. No, the bluebird male is definitely not all show. One year, the female bluebird was killed by a hawk, so Dad was on his own to keep the 6 SIX! bluebird babies fed and alive and heathy. He did it! (I fed him mealworms daily to help.) They all fledged! Guess you probably didn’t need or want all that information—–this comment just grew and grew. (lawyer by career, so guess I felt the urge to defend Mr. Bluebird! Accepting other bird clients….)

    • says

      Welcome, Rebekah. You are welcome to defend these rascals anytime. :) They are such beauties; just not much on the home-decorating duty. I have seen the males bring food, too; I should be kinder. See you soon again, I hope. Always glad to talk about birds and learn more.

  3. says

    Hysterical:-))) Or at least your description of it is, along with Andre’s cartoon. Thank you both for the morning chuckle.

  4. says

    i think there are a lot of Darius out there.

    Not that I am one of them. The first thing i thought when I met my wife to be off the plane was ‘God i need a cigarette’ … and then i thought ‘maybe i should go gather her some twigs now’

leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *