Bluebirds Return

Bluebirds Return

Weeks ago I posted on this blog that we hoped that bluebirds would return to the Shrine of St. Anthony. In fact, one member of our community, Fr. Carl, had built a number of bluebird houses according to specific directions given in a magazine article about bluebirds.  The good news is that bluebirds have returned around our Shrine of St. Anthony.

One recent morning I looked out the window, waiting for my toast to pop up, and  I saw a bluebird bringing some straw to one of Fr. Carl’s customized bluebird houses. It looked as though a pair of bluebirds were preparing to raise a family. Now it appears that they have chicks to feed as both the male and female bird are bringing  insects and grub worms into their house.

At this time I have no photo documentation in support of my claim, but I do have the supporting witness of some of my brother Franciscans  who also noticed that bluebirds have returned to our neck of the woods. Yet, I hope to have a photo of the bluebirds one of these days.

What’s the big deal? Well, years ago when I was in grade school, I frequently identified bluebirds in the woods behind our house. Those woods bordered on the west side of one of Cincinnati’s largest parks, the 1,459 acre Mt. Airy Forest. We neighborhood kids sometimes made all-day hikes through Mt. Airy Forest from west to east, to reach St. Anthony Shrine. After taking our backpack lunches, we retraced our route through Mt. Airy Forest going from east to west. It was always an interesting summer adventure. Guess what. In those days there were bluebirds throughout  the forest and around St. Anthony Shrine.

I celebrate Fr. Carl’s success at bringing the bluebirds back to St. Anthony Shrine. The return of the eastern bluebird is well underway, thanks to bird lovers who have taken the time to build houses with tiny openings and no perch–exactly what is need to keep predator birds out.

For his next trick I hope Fr. Carl can negotiate with the skunks that appear to be taking over the groundhogs’ tunnel network.

Photo Credit:  Steve Byland PhotoXpress



About the Author

Dan Kroger, O.F.M., a native of Cincinnati, joined the Franciscans in 1967 and was ordained in 1973. He taught high school and served in rural parishes in the Philippines. Dan earned a Ph.D. in Christian ethics at Notre Dame. He also taught at De La Salle University, Manila, until he was assigned to his present post as publisher/CEO at Franciscan Media in 2006.