Thanksgiving with Mountain Bluebirds

Mountai Bluebird, female

On 2009’s Thanksgiving Day I spent the afternoon at the Wichita Mountains Nat’l Wildlife Refuge near Lawton, Oklahoma. It’s my favorite place in Oklahoma for day trips because the scenery is stunning even when the birding might not be.

It was a beautiful clear day and, as I had hoped, most people were at home doing traditional Thanksgiving dinner so I had almost 60,000 acres to myself! The bird activity wasn’t spectacular but I found a flock of about 30 Mountain Bluebirds that gave me a memorable photography experience.

The bluebirds were active in a juniper and feeding on the blue seed/berries. They were so intent on feeding that I was able to get close enough for detail shots of their plummage. Almost all of the birds were females so I didn’t have the opportunity to get shots of the stunning blue of the males. But this was the closest — and best photos — I’ve gotten of Mountain Bluebirds.

These bluebirds are slightly larger than our resident Eastern Bluebirds and are seen only during winter in western Oklahoma when the food supply or weather in New Mexico and Colorado doesn’t meet their needs.

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