Sunday, May 27, 2012

A pair of busy bug-catchers

Daddy bluebird on duty
This spring I have a new addition to my back yard: A bluebird box! I went out and bought one rather impulsively last month, after seeing bluebirds in my yard for several days in a row. It only took them about a week to move in, and now the box is full of fast-growing babies. How many? I have no idea, but they have been getting louder by the day, and the parents are very busy all day bringing them food.

So I have been doing a bit of backyard bird-watching, trying to see just what kind of bugs the bluebirds are finding and bringing back to the nest. I have noticed that sometimes they just swoop right into the opening of the nest box, but other times they will pause briefly on top of the box, or on the wires overhead, and those are the times I can catch a glimpse of what's on the menu. I borrowed Jerry's camera and made a sport of trying to take pictures of the bugs in the bluebirds' beaks.

Some kind of worm
Here's a mouth full of something. A worm, maybe?

He's brought back a moth
Here's a plump moth.

See, here's why I like Jerry's camera. I can start out taking a picture like this...

DS3_9543 - Copy
...and then crop it down so you can see up close. Wait, this isn't close enough...

DS3_9543 -super close up!
OK, now! See the ant? When the bluebird nabbed this worm, he also picked up a hapless ant, and took it on the ride of its life! And seconds later, probably stuffed it into the gullet of one of his kids!

Carrying a crane fly
Just added! Here's one with a crane fly. I took this a day or so after all the other pictures in this post, and I'm just now (June 19) adding it in!

a carrotwood seed!
And here's something I didn't know: Bluebirds feed the seeds of carrotwood trees to their babies. I always thought they were strictly insectivores. I only wish they would eat some of the excess sowbugs and earwigs we have. But so far, they don't seem to be interested in those. Too bad. The sowbug population, especially, is exploding around here this year.

Off to get more food!
These last couple of shots are blurry, but I still thought they look pretty cool.

Blurry leaves in the foreground
I like the out of focus leaves from my Chinese elm tree in the foreground.

As my little pocket point-and-shoot camera gets older and doesn't work quite as well as it used to, I think about what kind of camera I should get next. A DSLR like Jerry's takes better pictures, but I am intimidated (and lazy) to learn how to use it properly, and besides, it weighs a ton. All I was doing was sitting in a chair with it, and I got tired of holding it. Maybe next time, I'll set up the tripod.
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