Eastern Bluebirds are at it again, courting in preparation for their nesting season. I’ve been hearing them sound off for about two weeks, so I went out this morning, hoping to videotape one in full song. The result was not what I expected.

Upon arriving at my destination just after sunrise, I heard and then spotted a singing male and headed toward his perch. Just as I got there, he flew to another perch and commenced singing again. I followed, but then he flew to another perch, then another, then another. How frustrating is that? He never sang from one spot long enough for me to get anything. So I finally gave up and instead pointed my camera at a lone female, who was just sitting on a limb minding her own business.

“A little footage of a perched female is better than none at all,” I remember thinking, even though the scene was not particularly exciting.

I let the camera roll for about a minute and then turned it off, ready to head home for the day. But just as I hit the off button, the female started quivering her wings. I knew something was up, so I immediately turned the camera back on. And none too soon. The male suddenly arrived with a worm in his mouth and then proceeded to feed the worm to his mate. Holy smoke … I just documented “mate feeding” behavior in the Eastern Bluebird. What good fortune indeed.

Capturing intimate bird behavior is not easy, and often happens accidentally, just as it did in this case. Targeting this behavior would have been an exercise in futility. But sometimes luck is on my side, as it surely was this early spring morn!

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