Sunday, June 10, 2012

Feeling Blue

I found a healthy helping of yellow birds in Pennsylvania, but yellow was not the only color putting on a strong display (why does it feel like I'm describing a Sesame Street episode?). The blue birds of Pennsylvania were also out in force. 

I had many opportunities to observe the lovely Eastern Bluebirds in the cloudy weather. It is fortunate that the overcast haze obscures the coloration a bit. Their electric blue is known to cause temporary blindness and paralysis if viewed in an un-filtered fashion. So, really, I'm doing you a favor dear reader...

The Eastern Bluebirds are told from their Western counterparts by the cleaner white on their bellies and the rusty colored chin (Western Bluebirds, shown below, have blue on their chins). This chin discrepancy has led to great debate among the Bluebirds.

The Western Bluebirds claim that, because they have blue chins, they're the truer and bluer of the bluebirds. The Eastern Bluebirds claim that they're just more comfortable and secure in their overcoat of blue, and so don't need to be showy or tawdry in their facial coloration. Of course, the sad truth is that the Mountain Bluebird puts both species to shame in terms of straight blue-ness, but neither Eastern nor Western Bluebirds like to talk about that.

It's an unsettling debate; one that's caused many the Bluebird to lose its balance.

And then there's the Indigo Bunting, which is such a rich blue that it's been formally disqualified from comparisons to the Bluebirds by the American Birding Association. I saw my first Indigo Buntings just a few weeks ago in Phoenix, and have now seen several more in Pennsylvania, where they were a little more accommodating.

With this much blue on display in PA, it is recommended that one does not listen to the blues or eat blueberries while out birding. It might cause a catastrophic sense-overload.