Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Bluebirds vs. squirrel; Bluebirds win

While I hate to sound like I obsess over bluebirds, given my previous post about the pesky, little critters, I have to say the more I see of these birds, the more I admire them. 

This morning, I heard a noise outside my window. It sounded like a scraping and then a thump. There was a squirrel at the base of the bluebird's tree--the one that contains a nest box recently built by my husband, John.

The squirrel looked like he was hanging on for dear life as a male bluebird went about diving and hitting the thing. Now, I normally don't have much sympathy, or positive feelings about squirrels. They tease the dog, taunt my cats, and steal bird food. Though I will admit I enjoy watching their antics at times.

This morning, I sympathized with this obviously young squirrel--just a little. Poor thing was just trying to make his way down a tree--perhaps to get some exercise or make his way over to a bird feeder, which is where my sympathy would end.

The female bluebird sat inside the box, peering out as her man--er--the male bluebird instigated a death-defying battle. It looked as if she was cheering him on. She reminded me a little of myself as my husband dutifully checks off the completed items from his honey-do list. 

Soon the female bluebird joined him. That struck a familiar chord as well. There is no such thing in our house as gender-specific chores We both pitch in to take care of whatever needs doing. More often than not, we do them together.

The two birds were dive-bombing this poor defenseless young squirrel. If I could read the expression on his face, it would be one of bewilderment. He probably had no idea what he did wrong. 

The two birds perched on a branch before taking off. They flew almost straight down like barnstormer performing at an air show. They came right at the squirrel, slapping their bodies against him. At other times, they thrust their beaks into his fur. These birds meant business.

Finally, the squirrel scurried up the tree, and out of sight, using the back side of the tree, opposite the bluebird box. He was gone, so they settled down. It was quite a show.

I have wondered if there was anything inside the nesting box. I figured they built a nest, but I didn't know if it was filled with eggs or babies. Their behavior indicates this pair was being protective. While they were very aggressive, I can only imagine what it must be like to be a small bird in a world where there are so many other creatures bigger than you and most are predators who look at you as prey. Those birds must have viewed that squirrel as a terrorist. 

I admire the way they stuck together. They actually risked their own lives for the nest--parenthood at its finest. Any parent can understand that behavior as well. Birds and humans may be totally different species, but we obviously share many traits.