Drive-by Birding


This week’s photo, taken June 3, 2013 along Umtanum Road in central Washington, features an adult male MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD.

I take Umtanum Road south of Ellensburg, WA, and when the pavement ends, the birding begins. Birds are singing, and people are absent, so I drive as slowly as I want, stop as often as I want, and bird-watch from my car. A local Audubon chapter has erected bluebird boxes along the fence-line, so WESTERN BLUEBIRDS are abundant here. In fact, as I slowly roll past one of the boxes, I hear baby bluebirds begging to be fed. MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRDS are not as common, but they also use the manmade nest cavities, and one gorgeous all-blue male poses close by on a fence stake. I don’t need to get out of the car. I simply stop the vehicle, aim my long lens through the open passenger window and fire away.

Other vocalizing species in this shrub-steppe habitat include SAGE THRASHER, WESTERN MEADOWLARK and BREWER’S SPARROW. The Brewer’s Sparrow is a rather plain looking bird, but its long and varied song is one of my favorite avian tunes. Just when you think it’s concluding its lengthy melody, it stretches it out a bit longer.


About Joe Sweeney

I photograph birds to share the beauty and wonder I find in nature.
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5 Responses to Drive-by Birding

  1. Bobbi Coates says:

    Beautiful . . . .haven’t seen one 1 years

  2. Scott Dean says:

    Nice report Joe. Sounds like my kind of birding!

  3. Dpapera says:

    I had a bluebird nesting box made and placed it at the right height with tasty looking mealworms nearby………but did not attract a bluebird. I was told there are some in San Diego, but I have never seen one. Thank you for the beautiful photo, Joe. Donna

  4. cathieborrie says:

    Mountain Bluebird: O Bird o bird , thee I love . . .

  5. Jere says:

    We have bluebird boxes here in Montana. Some house wrens are residing in one, swallows in another. Still awaiting the bluebirds. Hope to see some at Montana bird festival this weekend in lewistown

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