We remember our first trip to Door County, in the spring of 1993. Our purpose for that trip was to come up and visit friends, and stop for lunch in Sturgeon Bay. As we were driving, we saw a flash of blue beside the highway. A bluebird had flown up from the ditch and perched himself on a wooden fence post. We were so excited to actually see a bluebird! Bryon is originally from Chilton, WI and I grew up in Brooklyn, WI. I had never seen a bluebird, and Bryon had only witnessed one as a child. That spring day in 1993 would be the beginning of our passion with bluebirds.
After purchasing the property that would eventually become The Chanticleer Guest House, we set out to bring more bluebirds to our little patch of Door County. We installed 3 bluebird houses and waited for our little blue friends to arrive in flocks. They didn’t. Well, not right away. We were too late in setting our bird houses and they had already found suitable nests. While nesting, bluebirds are quite scarce, and in reality, we really were too busy renovating our farmhouse to be searching for bluebirds. Summer came and went and all of a sudden, we noticed bluebirds on our sheep fence posts and in our bird bath. We were ecstatic! The bluebird parents had fledged their chicks and were busy flying down from our fence posts, plucking bugs to feed their hungry offspring.
That first autumn the flocks of bluebirds came in groups of 10 to 20 birds. They would hang out, searching for food and then all of a sudden, vanished. Without warning, they all had flown south. We were so excited to have been able to witness not only a single bluebird that spring, but flocks of them migrating to warmer climates! When, and how many, would return that next spring?
18 years later, and after countless batches of bluebirds popping out of our bluebird houses, we are still excited when we see those beautiful little birds. While still not as common as robins, we seem to notice more and more pairs coming back to Chanticleer in the spring. Our winter ritual of cleaning out bluebird houses has surprised us with some bluebirds staying until December, using our nest boxes as a cozy home. We know spring is here when we hear the unmistakable melody of the bluebird’s song, floating over our barren sheep pastures in March.
For all you avid bird watchers, we would love to have you come in early spring to witness the spring migration of our Door County bluebirds.