Move-in day

bluebird nestbox

New neighbors. View from our kitchen window.

It appears that two of the five or six bluebirds visiting our feeders regularly this winter have made a commitment to the new house… and each other.

The male Eastern Bluebird displays at his nest cavity to attract a female. He brings nest material to the hole, goes in and out, and waves his wings while perched above it. That is pretty much his contribution to nest building; only the female Eastern Bluebird builds the nest and incubates the eggs.

We put up the Gilbertson PVC bluebird nest box in late February.

Winterbloom

witch hazel flowers

Witch hazel, the only flowers around here right now.

We are in the purgatory of mud season, New England’s fifth season.

winterbloom

Witch hazel is also known as “winter bloom.”

A cold, dry, disturbing wind is roaring and gusting. Earth is a patchwork of hard gray snow, hard brown dirt, dead brown grass. Plastic bags fly and are caught in the claws of leafless tree branches.

I drove two and a half miles to the place I know has a witch hazel tree. The flowers are tiny yellow fireworks, pop! bang!

Ready for warmth

eggs

Henfruit for breakfast. Thank you, ladies.

They say it’s spring.

But it was 15 degrees at 7:30 a.m. That just seems too cold for March 25.

I remember two years ago we had a couple of 80 degree days Mar. 21-22 and everyone went to the beach. It’s supposed to snow tomorrow.

I wish I were at the beach… in Belize.

caye caulker

I am finally going through the pics from our trip, March 6 through 13, to make a printed photo book using MyPublisher. I will make a Flickr album too. And write some reviews on TripAdvisor.

I did keep track of the birds while we were there, and posted pics to a Flickr albums Birds of Caye Caulker. I was diligent about entering my sightings on eBird as well. So far my “Central America Life List” is all Caye Caulker birds.

It was a fun way to focus our curiosity and explorations of the island.

Big yellow hen is boss

buff orpington

They say Buff Orpingtons are the color of a gold pocket watch. I have two, Marilyn Monroe and Grace Kelly.

Belonging to the English class of chickens, it was bred to be an excellent layer with good meat quality. Their large size and soft appearance together with their rich color and gentle contours make them very attractive, and as such its popularity has grown as a show bird rather than a utility breed. They go broody very often, and make great mothers. Although rather heavy, they are able to fly small distances but rarely do, so they work well as backyard birds. Due to their build they do well in very cold climates.

rhode island red

Marilyn the fat orp, top photo, is the monarch, the flock leader, and all hens bow before her, but Lucy the Rhode Island Red is the adventure leader. She is the first to explore and exploit new territory, such as up the steps to the back deck to scrounge fallen bird seed.

They are a popular choice for backyard flocks because of their egg laying abilities and hardiness. … It was from the Malay that the Rhode Island Red got its deep color, strong constitution, and relatively hard feathers.

Lucy had a red sister named Ginger who was half-eaten by a hawk in the backyard, then buried with the other Barred Rock, Dorothy, killed by a car, in Chicken Graveyard Woods.

chicken feathers

Barred Rock Mary Ann has healthy new feathers after her dramatic molt in early December. Hers are the softest feathers. She’s a whiny pinhead, but she lays a lot of nice light pinkish brown eggs. Her sister was smart and nice, but loved to cross the road and one day did not get to the other side.

The Plymouth Rock was developed in New England in the middle of the 19th century and was first exhibited as a breed in 1849. Several individuals claimed its invention, using crosses of Dominiques, Black Javas, Cochins, and perhaps Malays and Dorkings. … The breed became popular very rapidly, and in fact, until World War II, no breed was ever kept and bred as extensively in the United States as the Barred Plymouth Rock. Its popularity came from its qualities as an outstanding farm chicken: hardiness, docility, broodiness, and excellent production of both eggs and meat.

Ella the Easter Egger, in the background, lays pale blue eggs, makes the most noise with her constant querulous trilling, and can often be seen standing stock still in the backyard, looking up at the birds. She had a sibling, Cleopatra, who turned out to be a rooster, renamed Caesar, and I gave him away.

An Easter Egger is any chicken that possesses the “blue egg” gene, but doesn’t fully meet any breed description as defined in the American Poultry Association’s (APA) standards… The name derives from the resemblance of their colorful eggs to Easter eggs. The Araucana, Ameraucana, and Easter Egger are descended from the same founder stock that spread around the world from Chile and the Falklands… The color of Easter Eggers is particularly variable, and they appear in a great number of patterns.

All of these breeds will be available at our local Agway soon, which is where I bought these hens as chicks two years ago.