Bluebirds Of Happiness

Long before I had ever heard the titular expression, I was able to relate to its sentiment. If you have ever had a flock of bluebirds descend upon you, with their ethereal color and soft vocalizations, like messengers from a more gentle and beautiful realm, you will, too. And we are not alone. Chinese, European, and Native American folklore assigned special meanings to a variety of blue birds, perhaps associating their cerulean to celestial color and, thereby, to heaven.

While blue birds have engendered tender feelings through the ages and across the miles, we might have Belgian playwright and Nobel laureate in Literature, Maurice Maeterlinck, to thank for popularizing them in his 1908 play, “The Blue Bird.” Ever since “bluebirds of happiness” has been the theme of many a song and film, and the association has lodged itself in the collective psyche.

Lange bevor mir der Ausdruck „blaue Vögel des Glücks“ bekannt war, konnte ich den innewohnenden Gedanken nachvollziehen. Wenn Dir jemals eine Schar dieser blauen Vögel mit ihren ätherischen Farben und zarten Stimmen erschienen ist, kannst Du das auch. Und wir sind nicht allein. Chinesische, europäische und uramerikanische Folklore maßen einer ganzen Reihe blauer Vögel besondere Bedeutung bei, was vielleicht damit zusammenhängt, daß ihre blaue Farbe mit dem Himmel in Verbindung gebracht wurden.

Auch wenn blaue Vögel über lange Jahre und manche Meilen hinweg zarte Gefühle hervorriefen, haben wir vielleicht dem belgischen Bühnenautor und Literaturnobelpreisträger Maurice Maeterlinck für ihren Ruhm zu danken, da er sie 1908 in seinem Bühnenspiel „Der blaue Vogel“ popularisierte. Seither wurde der Ausdruck „Blaue Vögel des Glücks“ in zahlreichen Liedern und Filmen thematisiert, und die Assoziation hat sich in unserer kollektiven Psyche verankert.

Mountain Bluebird (Sialia currucoides)/Berghüttensänger

There are myriad blue birds, but true bluebirds (genus Sialia) exist only in North and Central America. All three species, Mountain, Western, and Eastern Bluebirds belong to the thrush family (Turdidae), like the well-known American Robins. The former two are typically found along and west of the Rocky Mountains, the latter east of them. As Colorado Springs straddles their ranges, all three species of bluebirds can be encountered and enjoyed here. A reflection of the high esteem in which they are held, September 24 has been declared National Bluebird Day. Unless one lives in areas where they occur year-round, the arrival of bluebirds denotes the end of winter and beginning of spring, and symbolizes hope and renewal.

Es gibt unzählige Arten blauer Vögel, aber die wahren “Bluebirds” (Hüttensänger auf Deutsch, womit sich die Schwierigkeit dieser Übersetzung zeigt, weil sie im Deutschen keinen Sinn ergibt), existieren nur in Nord- und Mittelamerika. Alle drei Arten gehören zu der Familie der Drosseln (Turdidae). Die Berghüttensänger und Blaukehlsänger kommen normalerweise entlang sowie westlich der Rocky Mountains vor, die Rotkehlsänger östlich der Bergkette. Da sich Colorado Springs über beide Lebensräume erstreckt, sind hier Begegnungen mit allen dreien möglich. Die Vögel werden so hoch geschätzt, daß der 24. September zu ihrem Gedenktag erklärt wurde. Es sei denn, jemand lebt in Gegenden, wo sie das ganze Jahr über auftreten, kennzeichnet die Ankuft der „Bluebirds“ das Ende des Winters und den Frühlingsbeginn und symbolisiert somit Hoffnung und Erneuerung.

Western Bluebird (Sialia mexicana)/Blaukehlhüttensänger

While it’s true that most of us need cheering up during the best of times, all of us could do with a few extra flickers of hope and renewal at present. Particularly those among us suffering from chronic illness, or anxiety and depression. It is to you in particular that I dedicate this post: Whatever it is that feeds your soul, I wish you precious moments with your very own harbingers of happiness.

Es ist wohl wahr, daß die meisten von uns selbst in den besten Zeiten Ermunterung brauchen. Gerade zum jetzigen Zeitpunkt können wir alle von einer extra Portion Hoffnung und Erneuerung profitieren. Und insbesondere diejenigen unter uns, die unter chronischen Krankheiten oder Angststörungen und Depressionen leiden. Besonders Dir ist dieser Beitrag gewidmet: Was immer Deine Seele erfüllt, mögen Dir besondere Momente mit Deinen eigenen Glücksboten gewährt sein.

Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis)/Rothkehlhüttensänger

86 thoughts on “Bluebirds Of Happiness

  1. Your post prompted me to look at the range of the Eastern Bluebird. They should be in areas where we had our homes, but I only have the vaguest memory of seeing one. Perhaps I will be more aware in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope you will see them one of these days. In my experience, I seem to notice plants and animals much better once I know a little about them. The human brain works in interesting ways.
      Thank you for stopping by, and best wishes.
      Tanja

      Like

  2. Hello Tanja,
    This post made my evening! What a treat to view these after a long day.
    As you said, blue birds symbolize happiness in many parts of the world, including here in Japan too 🙂 I feel very happy viewing your lovely images 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Unglaublich schön! Ich muss sie nur ansehen und schon fühle ich mich gut! Einfach nur durch ihre schönen Farben. Und dabei bin ich nicht einmal etwas traurig, das es hier keine Bluebirds gibt und ich sie so schnell nicht live sehen werde. Die Vögel in Amerika haben einfach so schöne Farben. Der Blauhäher hat auch so ein schönes Blau. Ich hoffe es geht dir gut. Bleib gesund! Liebe Grüße, Michael

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Steve. I came across that YouTube video during my research, but I thought that would lead too far away from my theme.
      I assume the Mountain Bluebird is a Berghüttensänger in German because they can be found at elevations where mountain huts exist.
      I also assume, but haven’t actually found confirmation, that currucuoides has to do with the blue color of the bird. Cucurrucucu sounds like onomatopoeia to me, like the cooing of the dove. The bluebird’s song sounds very different. If you would like to hear it, please follow the link, then click on “Listen”:
      https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Mountain_Bluebird/overview

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  4. For me, you ticked all the boxes with this one: It has the color blue, it’s informative, I learned something new—I didn’t know there were three species of bluebirds—and your ending message brought tears to my eyes. Happy Earth Day to you and yours!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Bluebirds are one of my favourite small birds of the USA: the flash of blue as they zip between perching points is magical. I had no idea they were part of the thrush family.

    We don’t have bluebirds here in the UK, and only our blue tit (a bit like your chickadee) has a significant amount of the colour in its plumage. However, the fact that we don’t have bluebirds didn’t stop them featuring in one of the most well-loved popular songs dating from the period of the Second World War. “(There’ll be bluebirds over) The White Cliffs of Dover” was written in 1941 by two Americans, and made popular the following year by Vera Lynn.

    The song references the Royal Air Force’s battles with the Luftwaffe, and anticipates a time when the war will be over and peace will rule over the iconic white cliffs. However although lyricist Nat Burton was evidently aware of the link between bluebirds and happiness, he was blissfully ignorant of the fact that you’ll never see one over the white cliffs of Dover unless it’s escaped from an aviary!

    For Brits of a certain generation (now dwindling in numbers, of course) this is a sentimental song that brings back memories of the terrible struggle that took place between 1939 and 1945. it features in countless movies about the war, so that even people like myself – not born until a decade after it finished – get nostalgic hearing it. I’m not sue if you’re familiar with the song, so think will take you to it on YouTube :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tuHYnzWHS7o

    My apologies for waffling on, but I this might be of interest!

    Liked by 1 person

    • No need to apologize! Thank you for sharing this information and the link to the song. The refrain actually sounds vaguely familiar, but I don’t think I had ever listened to the entire song.
      I think the attempt to try to boost people’s morale with the image of a beautiful bird is understandable, even if the species in question might not naturally occur in England.
      And I think anybody who has experienced a magical encounter with a bluebird, will never forget it. 🙂

      Like

  6. Ah, what beautiful photos, Tanja. Happy Earth Day! I’ve never seen the lighter Mountain variety you have in your area — we have the Western buff-colored individuals here. Rick and I saw our very first Tanager today at our bird bath, outside our cabin window!!! (Western Tanager) Do you have them in your area? They are said to winter in Baja California and Mexico — bright orange head, yellow breast and black/white splotched wings, spectacular color! Earth Day in full swing :)) Hurray!!! Dawn

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Dawn. And congratulations on your Western Tanager sighting. How exciting! We have those birds in common, and I can’t wait for them to show up at our feeders, too! 🙂
      Happy Earth Day today and on every other day.
      Warm greetings,
      Tanja

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  7. Was für schöne Vögel! Und du hast sie so zauberhaft eingefangen. Sie zaubern mir jetzt ein Lächeln aufs Gesicht. Wenn man in diesen dunklen Zeiten etwas Freude sucht, bei den Vögeln kann man sie finden. Danke Tanja!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Obwohl ich theoretisch im Brutgebiet des ”Eastern Bluebird” lebe, habe ich leider noch keinen davon gesehen!
    Es muss schon ein einzigartiger Eindruck sein, wenn ein oder ein paar dieser schoenen blauen Voegel entweder auf einem Baum sitzen oder vorbei fliegen!
    Viele Gruesse
    Christa

    Liked by 2 people

    • Das hast Du richtig erkannt, liebe Christa. Wann immer ich einen oder mehrere höre oder sehe, zaubern sie mir immer ein Lächeln ins Gesicht. 😊
      Ich wünsche Dir, daß Dir bald eine solche Begegnung zuteil wird.
      Sei herzlich gegrüßt,
      Tanja

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  9. Bluebirds do exude happiness! Lovely post, Tanja, I’ve been fortunate to see all three species, the Eastern often and the other two in different states in our western travels. How awesome and lucky you to see all three in Colorado! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Donna. I do feel lucky about getting to see all of them. The eastern variety is considered rare, but typically there are several sightings each year. I’m glad that you have encountered all three species as well.
      Happy weekend to you,
      Tanja

      Liked by 1 person

  10. When my aunt still was in her house east of Kansas City, she had bluebirds galore. She had enough yard space to be able to put up houses for them that met their requirements for flight path and such, and she got to watch any number of families being raised. I assume they were eastern bluebirds; I do remember the bit of russet on them.

    I ought to be able to find them here, although I’ve never seen one. The Texas Breeding Bird Atlas shows plenty of sightings, so I need to look a little harder!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That sounds lovely, Linda. I wish I lived in a setting suited to their breeding. At least there are nesting boxing in some of our local parks, so I usually get to see the young ones after they hatch.
      I hope you will be blessed with a bluebird encounter in Texas soon. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. ……and what a beautiful sight they make in the trees. Their colouring is a real powder blue going by your images. The Western Bluebird is particularly lovely in its colouring.

    Thanks for sharing such a lovely species 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Wunderschön!
    Dann ist mein Glücksbote wohl das Blaukehlchen, dass ich jetzt schon zwei Mal sah.
    Ganz anders als in anderen Jahren.
    Dann will ich das gerne glauben.
    Ich wünsche auch dir viel Glück. Pass auf dich auf und bleibe gesund.
    Liebe Grüße
    Brigitte

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ich hoffe sehr, daß das hübsche Blaukehlchen Dein Glücksbote ist, liebe Brigitte. Mir wird jetzt noch ganz warm ums Herz, wenn ich mich an meine erste Begegnung mit einem Blaukehlchen letzten Mai in Deutschland erinnere. 😊
      Auch ich wünsche Dir und allen Deinen Lieben weiterhin gute Gesundheit und Zuversicht.
      Alles Liebe,
      Tanja

      Like

  13. We do also have bluebirds, the eastern variety, around here but I’ve never had the opportunity to photograph any. You, on the other hand, have done so and a very nice job of it too, Tanja. These definitely added to my happiness today. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  14. This is truly one of the most memorable, inspiring, and beautifully written posts I have ever read! Thank you Tanja, for your eloquent words and for your beautiful photos! I will remember this with fondness when l see a bluebird in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Jill, seeing bluebirds always lifts my spirits, too.
      I’m taking some time off from blogging, and I have, indeed, enjoyed nature’s bountiful spring very much. I hope the same is true for you.
      All the best,
      Tanja

      Liked by 1 person

      • Tanja – I just logged into my blog after taking the summer off. I had to laugh that you were taking a break as well.
        I hope it has been a good one and that you are keeping well and healthy my dear friend.
        Looking forward to seeing new blogs in the future.
        Your friend. – Jill

        Liked by 1 person

      • It’s nice to hear from you, Jill, thank you for the greeting and the good wishes.
        I’m as well as can be expected during this tumultuous time, even though it’s not easy to keep up one’s spirit. I hope you have found a way to do just that.
        Kindest regards,
        Tanja

        Like

  15. Really loved it how you put forth about happiness relating to blue birds.
    Pictures are amazing.
    But the way i write too.

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    Liked by 1 person

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