Last Saturday saw the transmission of a new children’s magazine programme called “Plava Ptica” – Bluebird. You can find out all about the programme on its website www.rts.rs/plavaptica but here I shall not be talking about the programme but about the bird itself. During all the years I spent as an amateur ornithologist, I saw a large number of different birds, but unfortunately the bluebird was not among them. This is not surprising as the bluebird is native to America, a continent I have never had the opportunity to visit. The are three species of bluebirds, the Eastern, the Western and the Mountain bluebird, the last of these being the only one that is entirely blue. Their preferred habitat is open grassland with scattered trees and they make their nest in holes in trees, often using old woodpeckers’ nests.
The male, which is more brightly coloured than the female, has the job of finding a potential nesting site and then he attracts his prospective mate by singing and flapping his wings. If the female accepts the male and the nesting site he has chosen, she will build the nest all by herself and then incubate the eggs. Bluebirds feed on insects during the spring and summer and berries and seeds during the autumn and winter.
Here is a link to a website devoted to the Eastern Bluebird on which you can hear its song. The site has links to both the Western and the Mountain Bluebird.
Western Bluebird Mountain Bluebird
For thousands of years the bluebird has played an important role in the mythology of cultures from all over the world. It is a symbol of cheerfulness, happiness, prosperity, good health, new births, the renewal of springtime - almost anything positive – and in Russian fairytales it is the traditional symbol of hope.
In 1906 Maurice Maeterlinck wrote a stage play called The Blue Bird and later several films were made based on the same story, which begins with two child heroes, Tyltyl and Mytyl, who are sent out by the fairy Bérylune into various lands to search for the Bluebird of Happiness. The children return home empty-handed and discover see that the bird has been in a cage in their home the whole time. Myltyl then gives the bird as a present to a sick neighbour (Angela), but the bird flies away. The moral of the story is that the search for happiness is ongoing, and it is to be found within oneself.
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