There will be no fledging party for the first family of bluebird to use my box this year after all. The two eggs in the bluebird nest are without a mother now.
Coming in from harvesting asparagus for supper, the blue caught my eye. The scene tripped my heart. Behind the cold frame was the female bluebird. She was standing in the grass mid stride, one leg in front of the other, a blade of dry grass still in her beak. She was also dead.
I picked her up. Whatever caused her death left no traces on the outide. I took photos while deciding where to bury her. Usually, small creatures that die on the premises get dumped in the meadow by the big composting bins so carrion-eating animals can have an easy evening meal. That would not do for this beloved bluebird. The stone monkey could serve as her tombstone. The herb garden would provide a peaceful place without foot or mower traffic.
Only yesterday, I headed out to count the eggs in the box. As I approached, I could see the female was inside. We agreed I’d come back later. Today I checked the status and number of eggs after finding the dead female. The air in the box and the nest were warm. There are two eggs.
Could I be implicated in her death? Was she behind the cold frame because she had been confused by its glass cover? The cover is nearly horizontal and only a foot or so off the ground. The glass is propped open but she was not by the side that was open. The damp soil in the cold frame showed no bird tracks. Still, could she have flown inside the frame? Could she have broken her neck trying to get out? Or was it the corn gluten or the milky spore spread on the lawn last week. Both are considered the organic way to handle a lawn and both had been watered in by the weekend rain. Still could the bluebird have ingested too much of either of those?
Goodbye little bird. Thank you for the thrill of choosing my nesting box, your tuneful singing and the beautiful color you lent to my meadow. I will miss you more than you could ever imagine.