Fledgling Mountain Bluebirds – “Frick And Frack”

These two siblings seemed almost joined at the hip. Even their movements were choreographed.

I photographed them a couple of weeks ago in the Centennial Valley of Montana. Most of these images have been significantly cropped and I often didn’t have enough depth of field to get both birds sharp so don’t expect great image quality. And the wire behind the birds is far from ideal but these photos are meant as documentation of behavior and have no pretensions to anything more.

I haven’t provided image techs because I simply ran out of time.


The two youngsters and their parents were hanging around a conglomeration of posts and rails at a fence corner and this particular rail seemed to be their favorite perch. Perhaps the wire behind them gave them a sense of security though I was far from pleased by it. The siblings were clingy and rarely left each other’s side.



The bird on the right seemed slightly larger (older?) than the other one so it usually took the lead in whatever they did and they often did it in unison. When the larger sibling became interested in the small knot in the wood below and in front of it the smaller bird…



followed suit.



And of course things like yawns and stretches are contagious so when the larger sibling began an awkward wing stretch the little guy…



joined in too.



But they spent much of their time cuddled up together while they waited for food deliveries from their parents.



Here’s a better look at one of the siblings. I love the prominent white eye ring of the juveniles.

Mountain Bluebirds are always one of my photographic goals in the Centennial Valley but this time I didn’t get many chances with them. That’s partly because some of the bluebird boxes on the east end of Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife refuge have been removed for some reason and those boxes always provided the best morning light for photography.


PS – If you don’t understand the “Frick and Frack” reference in my title perhaps you’re just not old enough…




32 comments to Fledgling Mountain Bluebirds – “Frick And Frack”

  • Jan Demorest

    Ron, My husband and I monitor 150 bluebird nestboxes in central Washington State. We are blessed with the opportunity to watch the whole process of nest-building, courtship, egg-laying, incubating, feeding hungry nestlings, and seeing the fledglings out in the world for the first time. Your photos capture these siblings’ strong bond and the beautiful detail of their features. Thanks!

  • Debbie

    These little birds are so adorable. Thanks Ron for sharing the.

  • Alice Beckcom

    These 2 Mountain Bluebirds just made me smile and I marveled that you could get such great shots. Your narrative is perfect. Yes, ‘Frick and Frack’ surely applies to these two cuties.

    Ron, thanks for these great and entertaining photos.

  • HOW I admire their choreographer.
    And how this post makes me smile.
    Thank you.

  • Jean Haley

    I have never seen them that young. They are so cute. Thank you Ron. Great shots!

  • Laura Culley

    Just spectacular! You might have guessed that I just LOVE behavioral series of birds/raptors/critters (in general). The behavioral series give us a look into the wild world for a sliver of time, and to me at least, they’re endlessly fascinating, each individual within any given species adding its part of the whole of uniquely outrageous diversity. Yes, I’m easily amused and your silly point would be? HAHAHAHA!!! 🙂

  • April Olson

    Adorable photos. I missed watching the Mountain Bluebirds at the National Ability Center in Park City this year. The young man I assist with camp did not go to camp this summer. While he is doing activities, I watch the birds around the complex. There are a great number of Bluebirds.

  • Patty Chadwick

    I wonder who their choreographer is? Jerry Herman? Dereck Hough? Whoever they have is good…

  • Susan Stone

    Thank you for a good laugh this morning with this great series. These cute young birds remind me of a pair of kittens my sister and I got when we had an apartment together many, many years ago. They got into a lot of funny poses together, and my father referred to them as a vaudeville team.

  • Marty K

    Frick and Frack are most apropos here. Too funny.

  • Porcupine

    I actually like the contrast created by the barbed wire with the soft, fuzzy fledglings. Very fun series.

  • Shirley

    They are so adorable, thank you Ron! Have you heard the story from Sidney, B.C. on Vancouver Island of the Red Tailed Hawk being raised by the family of Bald Eagles? Quite the story, even after fledging it keeps coming back to the nest and supposedly is behaviour is not that of a Red Tailed Hawk. Some Fire Fighters at one of B.C.’s wildfires have saved some Sharp Shinned Hawks from a certain death, one with a broken leg. They were sent to O.W.L., Orphaned Wild Life Rescue in Delta, B.C. for rehabilitation. Hugs to the Fire Fighters!

  • Such appealing little guys ! Same vintage as “frick and frack”–“monkey see–monkey do”………

  • frank sheets

    That brought a smile! Thank you.

  • Dick Harlow

    Ash Frick and Frack, who wouldn’t know?
    Great shots, beautiful bird, got my life Mountain Bluebirds in Yellowstone. Funny how certain birds are imprinted in ones mind when you first saw them!

    • “Funny how certain birds are imprinted in ones mind when you first saw them!”

      It sure is, Dick. I remember where I first saw several bird species years ago.

  • Judy Gusick

    How cute! 🙂 Interesting that they were cuddling together. The GHO’s do that but, most other birds here, once out of the nest, seem to be all over the place. “Frick and Frack” fits! 🙂

    • Judy, Whenever I had copycat students doing silly (or stupid) things I’d sometimes call them Frick and Frack. I think it often went over their heads…

      • Marty K

        I’m glad I’m not the only one! 😉 I’d often say things and then just hear the crickets chirping as I looked out at a sea of blank stares.

  • Charlotte Norton

    What a fantastic series Ron! I love it!