There was a bit of excite­ment here at Bum­ble­bee a cou­ple of nights ago. I thought we had finally attracted some pur­ple martins.

I was out­side with the lit­tle dogs and was watch­ing the blue­birds who have moved into the pur­ple mar­tin gourds. They have been there all sum­mer, hav­ing babies and using the long arms of the gourd sys­tem as a perch to look for juicy bugs. But some of the “blue­birds” were exhibit­ing some very un-bluebird like behav­ior. They perched and then flew off to grab bugs in mid-air and then returned to the perch to chow down.

Well, nat­u­rally I thought they were pur­ple mar­tins. I was so excited my hands were shak­ing as I changed my cam­era lens to the mon­ster long-lens. I snapped shots and sent them off to a cou­ple of friends, includ­ing Ruthie, announc­ing, “I have pur­ple martins!!!”

Well, don’t you love the inner­nets? Within three or four min­utes one friend had called and the other emailed to gen­tly inform me that I didn’t have pur­ple mar­tins at all.

I have Great Crested Flycatchers.

Well, nat­u­rally I was dis­ap­pointed. After hav­ing invested a wag­onload of money in the gourd sys­tem, charmed a handy­man into installing the pole in my Mary­land hard­pan clay and got­ten up for many, many morn­ings before dawn to play them the CD of pur­ple mar­tin dawn song on my boom box, I still didn’t have pur­ple martins.

But my friends assured me that a Great Crested Fly­catcher is indeed a very spe­cial and inter­est­ing bird. But then, I already knew the inter­est­ing part. He surely cap­tured my interest!

Now, I am watch­ing as the blue­birds and fly­catch­ers share their perch. They seem com­pan­ion­able enough and both are spe­cial birds that I’m happy to have in my yard. Even if they aren’t pur­ple martins.

There is always next year.



Garden and food writer Robin Ripley is co-author of Grocery Gardening. Her new book, Wisdom for Home Preservers, will be released later in 2014 from Taunton Press.

Bumblebee is about her life in rural Maryland, her garden, cooking, dogs and pet chickens. She also blogs about food and chickens at Eggs & Chickens. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook. Thank you for visiting.


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