Some people think of Mountain Bluebirds as being the hardiest of the three bluebird species because they tend to live at higher elevations that can experience more extreme weather. While we have a ton of respect for any little bird that has to survive the extremes nature throws at them, some individuals do choose to nest in more extreme environments.

Female Mountain Bluebird arrives at her nest box.  Photograph by Neil Paprocki.

Female Mountain Bluebird arrives at her nest box. Photograph by Neil Paprocki.

Many of the bluebird boxes in the Owyhee Mountains of southwest Idaho are situated within the relative safety and comfort of a juniper tree. The juniper branches help to shade the nest box, while at the same time protecting its occupants from rain and wind. However, a few boxes are placed in areas with more exposure. You might ask why place boxes in areas so exposed to nature’s wrath? However, in nature many natural cavities occupied by these birds would be in completely dead trees (or snags) with almost no protection from the elements.

HDR image of the 'exposed' nest box.  Photograph by Neil Paprocki.

HDR image of the ‘exposed’ nest box. Photograph by Neil Paprocki.

We observed one of these more exposed boxes earlier this week during our 3-day film shoot for Bluebird Man. This particular box was placed on an old fence post very near the top of a mountain ridge line. The views up here are spectacular, but we wonder if the birds think so too?

Male Mountain Bluebird in the wind.  Photograph by Neil Paprocki.

Male Mountain Bluebird in the wind. Photograph by Neil Paprocki.

The day we chose to film we were hoping to see the nearly-fledgling aged bluebird chicks leave their box, but this was not to be. A front had moved in the evening prior, and the winds had kicked up a wicked fury. We watched all morning as this dedicated and hardy pair of Mountain Bluebirds delivered insect-after-insect to their nestlings while sometimes struggling to stay perched atop fence posts and juniper trees. We have a ton of respect for this pair struggling through the elements to still raise a healthy brood of nestlings!

Papa bluebird fights the wind to deliver an insect to his nestlings.  Photograph by Neil Paprocki.

Papa bluebird fights the wind to deliver an insect to his nestlings. Photograph by Neil Paprocki.

Mama bluebird battling the wind.  Photograph by Neil Paprocki.

Mama bluebird battling the wind. Photograph by Neil Paprocki.

A successful prey delivery to the box!  Photograph by Neil Paprocki.

A successful prey delivery! Photograph by Neil Paprocki.

 






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