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Nature & You: This 'bluebird of happiness' caused no end of strife

Having a birdhouse outside the bedroom window seemed like a good idea at the time. But then a male bluebird became a little territorial. [OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES PHOTO]

Having a birdhouse outside the bedroom window seemed like a good idea at the time. But then a male bluebird became a little territorial. [OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES PHOTO]

This 'bluebird of happiness' caused no end of strife

I am a bird-watching fanatic.

My wife? ... well ... not so much.

Now, don't get me wrong; my wife likes wild birds, but not to the same extent as do I.

Which brings to mind a most-comical incident when she and I first got married a couple of decades back. It was my grandiose idea to put a bluebird nesting box right outside of our bedroom window. What a wonderful way to start each day, I reasoned. The bluebird is a joy to behold and to think: It would be the very first thing that we saw at the crack of each day's dawn.

And to my unbounded delight, it actually worked!

... well ... sort of.

Let me explain.

Lickety split, a brilliantly plumaged bluebird took up station right outside the window of our home.

Life is good!

Soon after, however, my dear wife began to complain. You see, what I failed to factor into the equation was that the male bluebird would do battle daily with his reflection in the window glass. Add to this the fact that my wife was attempting to get some much-needed sleep after she had just returned home after pulling a 12-hour shift of night work as a nurse at the local hospital. She made no bones about the fact that the bird's incessant pecking on the window glass was disturbing her attempts to fall asleep.

Uh, oh!

The birdhouse, of course, was now filled with young, defenseless bluebird babies. It was not as if I had the option of moving the nest box to some distant location.

Eventually, I devised a physical barrier whereby the male bluebird would not be able to come in contact with the window glass. I fashioned this out of a lightweight fishing net material. I was forced to leave the bottom edge of the netting somewhat loose; there needed to be some allowance for the vent window portion to crank outward.

To my decided consternation, the persistent bluebird managed to muscle his way underneath the netting, and the daily ritual of flinging his beak at the window reflection continued for weeks on end.

The end result was that my wife was forced to do her daytime sleeping in our home's guest bedroom. Try as I might, I never could dissuade the bluebird from bashing his head against the glass.

When the baby bluebirds finally left the nest, I hurriedly dug up the nest box mounting pole and carted the whole contraption out to a distant corner of our home's backyard.

Lesson learned.

— Neil Garrison, NewsOK Contributor

Neil Garrison was the longtime naturalist at a central Oklahoma nature center.

Neil Garrison

Neil Garrison is an outdoor nature enthusiast. He is a graduate of Oklahoma State University/Stillwater; he earned a B.S. degree in Wildlife Ecology. Prior to his 2009 retirement, he was the Naturalist at a central Oklahoma nature center for 30... Read more ›