Flock of Bluebirds Visit Family Home

February 12, 2011

bluebirds-bermuda-23Ralph Richardson and his family have welcomed up to a dozen of these regal — and highly endangered — birds to their property in recent days, keeping a photographic diary of their activities.

“My wife and I have been watching a flock of bluebirds all week arriving at the bird bath just a few feet from our kitchen door, usually around 10:30 AM,” Mr. Richardson told Bernews. “We had a workman arrive just as they arrive yesterday so they left and came back.”

“When we moved here 23 years ago, a bluebird sighting was very rare. I believe the public effort to erect bluebird houses around the island for the past two decades has paid off. Note there are 12 that can be counted on the first photo but there were others around.”

According to  Bermuda Audobon Society president Andrew Dobson, the current population of bluebirds in Bermuda is estimated to now number only about 500. The bluebird is now totally dependent on artificial nestboxes for breeding success and its survival in Bermuda can only be guaranteed with human help.

The Eastern Bluebird Sialia Sialia is a native species to Bermuda — the only location outside North America where this species breeds. Bluebirds fed on coastal grasslands, nesting in old cedars and cliff cavities. In the last 50 years, the pressures put on the bluebirds to find suitable nest-sites have been immense.

bluebirds bermuda

Great efforts have been made to halt the decline in bluebird numbers. A nest box scheme has been in place for many years. The campaign was initiated by the Bermuda Audubon Society in the 1950s.

Hundreds of bluebird nestboxes have been erected around Bermuda. The boxes keep out starlings but must be monitored constantly to keep out sparrows. Bluebird boxes have been erected in “trails” on most of the island’s golf courses.

bluebirds

Supposedly inspired by sightings of the Bermuda bluebird during one of his many visits to the island, the American naturalist and poet John Burroughs [1837-1921]. said: “When Nature made the bluebird she wished to propitiate both the sky and the earth, so she gave him the color of the one on his back and the hue of the other on his breast …”

Last year the International Bank Note Society chose Bermuda’s $2 note featuring the bluebird as the 2010 Bank Note of the Year. Each year the IBNS recognises an exceptional bank note issued in the previous year.

1bluebirdnoteThe award-winning note portrays the Bermuda bluebird on the front and the Dockyard Clock Tower and the Bermuda National Museum’s statue of Neptune on the back.

As with all notes in the new Bermuda series, the head of the Queen appears in a reduced format on the front of the note, the portrait being a mirror of the design which appears on the postage stamps of the UK’s Royal Mail.

According to the organisation, “the members of the IBNS Board…considered the Bermuda $2 note an example of the most attractive elements which create interest among the ever-widening community of bank note collectors and those who take an interest in the development of paper money.”

Manufactured and released as part of a new series by the Bermuda Monetary Authority in February 2009, the series was the first major re-design of Bermudian bank notes for 40 years.

The object of the series was to present depictions of Bermuda, with the series reflecting the natural beauty of the flora and fauna of the island on one side and the island’s architectural heritage on the other.

Photographs courtesy of Ralph Richardson

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Articles that link to this one:

  1. Video: Bermuda Bluebird Nest Box Workshop | Bernews.com | March 2, 2013
  1. Triangle Drifter says:

    Good going there Ralph. Building a box looks simple enough. Any plans online giving dimenshions. I don’t have one to copy from.

  2. A says:

    that is a FANTASTIC sight… It’s great to see them flourishing !

  3. Audobonist says:

    It’s SO nice that there’s still some people who still care.

  4. Linda says:

    What a beautiful sight!!!

  5. C. Simons says:

    I am so glad that there are people who still care. I also have the opportunity to see several blue birds regularly in the bird bath located on the property where I live. One day, I was very upset to see feathers from a blue bird that had been killed by a neighbour’s cat. Keep up the good work Ralph.