“As long as there are bluebirds, there will be miracles and a way to find happiness.” – Shirl Brunnel, I Hear Bluebirds, 1984 ….. One of Mr. Kinneer’s splendid captures of Eastern Bluebird courtship.
Greetings to all.
The 2015 nesting season started later than in past years, but that is not a bad thing at all. It tells me the birds waited for a reason. We had a harsh, cold, frigid winter late in the season 2014-15; and our early spring also was cold and dreary. There appears to have been a few losses of bluebirds roosting in nestboxes — many reports are coming through to me of dead adults found inside the nestboxes this early February and March when the monitors were opening the nestboxes again. The location of my trail, being in the Southern-Southwestern end of the state, has shown some results of some of my most successful nesting boxes not getting occupied thus far. I have 42 installed setups on the trail now; of those 42, I still show at today’s date six nestbox setups not used by birds at all. I am not disappointed, however; the rest of the trail is all good news. I have nesting Eastern Bluebirds, Carolina Chickadees, and Tree Swallows. I have had no House Sparrow attacks on young or adults and no havoc from the House Wren species. As a matter of fact, I have NO House Wren sticks dropped inside any of my nestboxes – none! This makes me wonder if this species, a migrating bird species, has had some issues this year. Strangely, the past 3 years shows results of House Wren havoc on the Woolwine House Bluebird Trail. This year, I show NO House Wrens. I am not saying they won’t nest anytime soon. I have heard them singing in the trees attracting mates. I find it interesting the troubles housing this native species is not causing the usual concerns and worries I have had in past years. We will see as time goes on for the rest of May and June this season.
For the followers of this site, my postings will be more few and far between as a blog setup as I try to maintain and keep this site going as an informational space about the joys of a bluebird trail, and all the challenges faced each year. It has turned out the communications of my trail activities are going very well on Facebook, so if you want to see more weekly, even daily, postings of happenings on the trail, you can view the Facebook page, which is public, anytime, whether you are a Facebook user or not. May I invite you to see the photos, videos, and challenges there in a more regular basis. This page will be used as a “blog” with interesting reports that will come through from time to time. Did you Know? … this blog started when I was telecommuting to my McLean, Virginia, position? Something clicked when I worked from home, and what was happening outside my window made me realize the difference of working in an office—which I loved—to seeing the great outdoors. I appreciate your support through the years. The trail is celebrating its existence of fledging birds since my introduction to bluebirding in 2005 when I found an old weather nestbox in the back yard of our new home. This box was on a 4×4 wood post without any predator guards. As you may know, both bluebird broods failed miserably in that nestbox soon upon my arrival to the home. That is how bluebirding with that fiery passion started for me. The first of the bluebird trail of the first 14 nestboxes commenced with the planning during summer of 2007. The boxes were built in the workshop (locally) during December and January 2007-08. The 14 were installed February 2008. Today, I have 42 nestboxes — many I install myself with no assistance. I really think a total of 50 nestbox setups, all with two efficient predator guards, are not far-fetched. I have three active builders I work with throughout the state who do marvelous work and who I give credit to for allowing me to utilize their wonderful artistry and craftsmanship of creating super housing and the predator guards consisting now of 8” wide stovepipe baffles under the box and the Noel Guards on the entry holes to input successful results on my trail every year. Thank you all for your assistance to make the Woolwine House Bluebird Trail a special place the native cavity-nesting birds enjoy rearing their families. Many thanks also goes to the local homeowners who host the nestboxes and allow me to access the caretaking and monitoring required to make them work. The best reward for me is seeing this nesting action so close-up and being involved in seeing the young fledge into our world.
I am now a Certified Virginia Master Naturalist – received this honor in February 2014 by completing the requirements, including the volunteer hours to get certified. Basic Training began August 2013. This is giving me two naturalist course attendances and certifications during the last 3 years. This is coming very handy in me educating others on conservation of all of our natural resources, not just bluebirds. I have many more things to learn as I continue on in my endeavors. I am retired and I’m using my new time of choices to the max. Taking care of cavity-nesting birds is just one of the many things I love in my life. There is no such thing as boredom. I have more time constraints than ever, it seems; and I’ve picked up even more hobbies, such as macro photography. My favorite subject for macro is the wildflowers. I have three field guides in wildflowers in the Southern Appalachians. I also want to learn more about one of the oldest creatures existing in my region – those magical salamanders. Life is precious. I vow to do the best I can to take care of myself first, and then do all I can to take care of others, human or critter. For some reason, the natural calls me. For sure, see the Virginia Master Naturalist main website to see all the great works the volunteers do — yo may want to consider training in your own State’s naturalist organization and become a Master Naturalist yourself. http://www.virginiamasternaturalist.org/
Wishing you a beautiful season as spring is turning soon into summer. Feel free to use the Contact page to send me a private message, or reply to this blog with questions—better yet, if you want a faster response to questions, come to the Facebook page. Best wishes to all.
~~ Christine, Owner, Manager of the Woolwine House Bluebird Trail, Southwest Virginia’s Blue Ridge Highlands ~~
My nestbox setups today. 8″ wide wobblilng stovepipe baffle and the Noel Guard made from PVC coated hardware cloth.
My first box. No predator guards. Both broods failed.