Female Mountain Bluebirds in Montana

Mountain Bluebird female with prey for her youngMountain Bluebird female with prey for her young – Nikon D300, f7.1, 1/1600, ISO 640, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited

There were Mountain Bluebirds everywhere I looked on my recent trip to Montana where flashes of their brilliant blue plumage were a delight to my eyes. Mountain Blue birds are secondary cavity nesters which means they don’t create their own cavities but do use the cavities that other birds create, for instance Woodpeckers create their own cavities and bluebirds can use them later. Mountain Bluebirds have made a comeback since people started placing nest boxes in areas where they breed.

Female Mountain Bluebird on barbed wireFemale Mountain Bluebird on barbed wire - Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/640, ISO 640, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited

Mountain Bluebirds inhabit grasslands, open canyons, and alpine meadows in western North America. These females are more subtly colored than their male counterparts but I find that subtlety very appealing.

Both sexes were very busy bringing insects to their young in the nest boxes on my recent trip north, by now perhaps some of the chicks will have already fledged. Last year there was a late snow in the Centennial that caused mortality for the chicks of the earlier nesters, hopefully this year there will be far more flashes of blue in the Big Sky of western Montana!

Mia

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