Eastern Bluebird, Brookgreen Gardens SC

A flash of bright blue claims my attention, even though I know I’m not supposed to use colour as my first identifier for birds.  Something about it varying too much through the year (or by age or gender) to be a reliable identifier.  But how can I not notice this blue?  Wow.

Eastern bluebird with wings outstretched, in a blur of motionAnother question would be why I don’t get a sharp photo of this flittable bird, and the answers are these:

  • Having gone to photograph sculptures and flowers, I don’t have the right lens with me nor am I ready with the right settings even with a sub-optimal lens
  • Having gone to explore the entire garden, I don’t have time to wait for the other chance or, umm, 20 that it would likely take

So when it momentarily does stop flitting, I settle for an identification shot of what is a life bird for me.

Eastern bluebird on tree branch, half in sun, half in shadowUntil last month, I’d never seen any of the three North American species of bluebirds: Eastern bluebird, Western bluebird, Mountain bluebird.  Now, of course, I want to see them all, and in better conditions, with the right lens and the right camera settings.

In the meantime, to celebrate this versatile and oh-so-blue bird, here are a few bluebird-ish songs in a variety of genres.

Kris Kristofferson & Rita Coolidge

Boney M.

Joan Baez

Charlie Parker

Emmylou Harris

JJ Cale

Doris Day

Vera Lynn






  1. Alison

    First time I saw a bluebird (Western) I just about drove off the road! and there was not one but MANY of them – all flitting across the country road I was driving down. Turns out I was very near Ellis Bird Farm (www.ellisbirdfarm.ca). Check it out – it’s an amazing place!

    1. Isabel Gibson

      Alison – Thanks again. I’ll add this to my list for Alberta. It looks as if they’ve had Bohemian waxwings already this season – maybe Ottawa has, too, but they might be under a crust of ice this weekend.

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