Dean M. Chriss
Blue on Blue, Mountain Bluebird
(Click image to enlarge)
This male mountain bluebird perches on a tree branch under a cloudless blue Wyoming sky. Its nest was in a nearby quaking aspen tree where newly hatched chicks waited for dinner. Both parents flew to and from the nest almost constantly to satisfy the appetite of the young ones. The late afternoon light was bright and nearly perfect for this exposure, which was made at a focal length of 1200 mm.
Mountain bluebirds measure about six inches from head to tail. They live at elevations above 5000 feet in mountainous regions of western Canada and the United States. These bluebirds prefer open grassy meadows with nearby trees for nesting and perching. Their diet consists mostly of insects. Because they nest in tree cavities, nests are most often found in dead trees or snags. The mountain bluebird population is declining due to loss of natural nesting cavities caused by the removal of dead trees and snags, increased competition from non-native bird species, and reduction of insect populations from pesticide use.