Volunteers Needed for Bluebird Trail
4/5/2018

Cedar Run’s Bluebird Trail




Last summer was a banner year for fledged Bluebirds at Cedar Run, resulting in 45 individual birds flying from their nest boxes. Bluebirds prefer nesting in open areas with woodlands nearby so, when we began monitoring the nest boxes 20 years ago, the open area along the electric company’s right-of-way was chosen and boxes were placed at the prescribed 15 feet apart. Bluebirds are in our area through winter, but they are harder to find since they spend more time in the woods than in open areas.

Weekly monitoring of the Eastern Bluebirds has taught us a great deal. The male bluebird arrives about now (early April) and selects the nest box, leaving the job of building the nest to his mate. Hatching of four to five beautiful blue eggs occurs after 12 to 14 days of incubation. They will have as many as two or three broods per season.  Among their many challenges are the Tree Swallows and House Wrens who like our nest boxes as well. The little House Wren is capable of entering the nest box, destroying the Bluebird eggs and tossing the empty shells out. Tree Swallows will attack the mama Bluebird when she is out hunting for insects for the young and then take over her nest box. Both the Swallows and the Wrens will either remove the Bluebird’s nest material or proceed to build a nest of their choosing right on top.

Fledged Swallows and Wrens were also counted and numbered 23 Tree Swallows and 24 House Wrens. The Swallows actually would prefer to nest in boxes over the water which, if they had that availability, would open up more housing for the Bluebirds. However, the boxes previously built for placement at the edges of the lake have aged or have fallen into the lake. That means the Swallows have a housing problem! Fortunately, due to projects like ours, Bluebirds are no longer on the endangered species list, but are still in need of protection.

We would love to have an individual or a group take on a box-building project for Tree Swallows so Bluebirds could enjoy their open-air boxes in a little more peace! If you’d like to learn more, join us sometime for a bird walk and maybe you’ll be lucky enough to get a sighting of the Eastern Bluebird.

--Jeanne Woodford

Contact info@cedarrun.org for more information.


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