A pair of bluebirds diligently shops for homes. They perch on the roof, peering at the former hole in the gutter (patched) where they nested two seasons ago. They go in and out of the hole high up in the house’s cedar siding where they raised babies last year. I buy them a bluebird box and mount it 6 feet high on a pine tree outside the dining room window. Within four hours, the bluebirds discover it. The male goes in first, while the female perches on the rim of the hole.
The bluebirds are careful house shoppers. They return again and again for inspections. They perch on nearby branches, assessing the neighborhood. They check out the birdbath and land on the feeder, flying away after discovering nothing but sunflower seeds.
Yesterday the bluebirds began defending the box. The male drove away a white-breasted nuthatch pecking on the tree outside the box. The female darted out of the box to chase another female bluebird that had landed on the outside of the hole.
I haven’t yet seen the birds gathering materials for a nest. It’s the end of February and the cold has not yet receded. But nature is quietly preparing for the burst of life in spring.