So. . . I’ve built two bluebird houses over the years and one of them tends to be a home for chickadees while the other has been occupied by bluebirds. (The photo above shows this year’s chickadee babies in the house designed for bluebirds.)
This spring the bluebirds were in the “feeding their babies” stage in the second bluebird house (high atop a pole) when I became aware that my two cats had decided to hang out nearby. The bluebirds swooped at the cats and called out loudly. As soon as I saw what was happening, I brought the cats back inside.
A few days later, when the cats were outside again, one of them brought me a prize: a male bluebird. For the first time, I got really upset with this cat for her ability to capture something so beautiful to which I had become attached. I wrestled with her and finally got her to release the bird — who flew off. I brought the cats inside again and watched with heart-wrenching sadness as the female sat on the wire near the birdhouse and called and called and called to her mate. He never returned. After a very long time, she finally picked up her child-rearing duties and brought food back to the nest. I thought I saw the babies at the entrance hole to the birdhouse.
I was devastated and vowed not to let the cats outside again until those babies had fledged. Two days later I saw one female and two male bluebirds swooping up, down and around each other — trilling out their amazing song. Oh how wonderful! The babies had fledged that day. My heart sang with them as I watched them soar. (I kept the cats inside for a couple more days until the bluebirds no longer returned anywhere near the birdhouse.)
This morning I decided to clean out the previous bluebird nests. There had to be at least three layers of them since I missed cleaning out the nest last summer. Also I had noticed how high up in the box the babies seemed to be this year. Within hours of the housecleaning, I saw a pair of bluebirds flying — around, into and out of — the bluebird house. And the female was bringing new nesting materials.