NOVEMBER 6, 2010
TRAIL SUMMARY RESULTS FOR 2010
(This is also duplicated on the gray tabbed page, Trail Results.)
Each year, with the same number of nest locations, I have noticed from my trail notes that I fledge 20 more bluebirds each nesting season. This season I fledged 20 more bluebirds than last year. I continue to deal with problems and I think each year as I learn how to better be a good trail monitor and keep good statistics, I can see how every year is a little better than the last.
This was Year 1 of the 3-year test for the larger “Mansion” designed by Linda Violett in California for the Western Bluebird (with the two entry holes) for testing how bluebirds do against the non-native House Sparrow.
Please see the gray tabbed page for those results. I fledged bluebirds successfully, one brood, after House Sparrows attempted to nest in that box. It’s the only box that has a House Sparrow problem. See Linda’s website on all of the tests going on throughout the USA on how the bluebirds are doing in this box design which gives the bluebirds a chance to survive attacks inside a nestbox by providing an extra hole on the front as an “escape route”. Additionally, the box is deeper, both holes have the standard Eastern Bluebird 1.5″ size, which keeps larger avian predators from reaching inside the box to remove nestlings. I would say I had success on this test for this year with no bluebird casualties. Though trapping the House Sparrow to control them in bluebird territory is generally recommended, this test requires not to trap. The reasons for this is explained on my page about the test as well as on Linda’s website. On her main page here, she explains the test sites: http://home.earthlink.net/~lviolett
This was a bad year for ticks. Since one box is in field grasses, my plan is to move that box to a “garden and back yard” location, which is attractive to bluebirds and will be easier for me to monitor so I don’t have to walk through hayfields. I do have another box on that field, but I don’t have to walk far to monitor it nor is it surrounded by the grasses. Now I use lots of clothing to cover myself up and also a non-deet spray to put on my clothes and my skin to keep the ticks off. Note: This field is cut several times a year. When the boxes were installed, the grasses were short. Lesson learned: install a box that is easy to monitor and excellent for the birds to stay close and guard their nestbox and not have to fly far for food. About 2 acres is about right for a pair of nesting bluebirds. They are territorial, and they like their space.
I did have ants at several boxes, which I took care of right away. The blowfly problem was taken care of this year by using the Diatomaceous Earth carefully before bluebird eggs hatched. The predator guards on both the entry hole and the ground guard proved worthy again for this season. Only one very large black rat snake made it past a stovepipe ground guard, much to my dismay! It will happen; however, not using a ground guard for sure causes more predation and unsuccessful fledgings. I have a 99% success rate using the stovepipe ground guard!
Weather was interesting this season. Because of the harsher winter we had for 2009 and into early 2010, my bluebirds started to nest later in the spring than prior seasons. However, I had three broods on my trail this year, the first I’ve ever had THREE broods nesting. The last of the bluebirds fledged late August.
I have contacted both Floyd and Patrick County Chamber offices
to let them know who I am! Patrick County was kind enough to put up a page up for me to get the word out how to contact me (thank you, Mr. Tom Bishop)….http://www.patrickchamber.com/news.cfm?newsID=2549:
Additionally, both the Floyd Press (Floyd County) and The Enterprise (Patrick County) submitted articles in late winter 2010 to contact me about installing nestboxes before the male bluebirds start establishing their territories and female Eastern Bluebird picks her mate to start nest building.
I am seeking bluebird enthusiasts to contact me so that I can train how to monitor bluebird boxes and collect statistics.
Please help me get those valuable statistics in! I coordinate that for the two counties. All this helps the Virginia Bluebird Society and the North American Bluebird Society to see how the bluebirds are doing year after year. The Virginai Bluebird Society posts those records. It’s a great website…do take a look: http://www.virginiabluebirds.org/
Those statistics we Coordinators collect eventually go to the Transcontinental Bluebird Trail (all of North America, including Canada). It’s easy to monitor a box when installed properly and in a nestbox designed for easy monitoring and cleanout and …. this is the fun part ….. you get to watch the birds close up. You’ll find it to be fascinating, and you’ll love it! Please get in touch with me via this website so I can help you get started … just leave a comment (it stays private) and give me your phone number and let me call you back. Or call my voice number and leave a message (703) 919-4302. I want to help make bluebirding fun for you! Let’s get the statistics in to the VBS. I train new monitors and also assist in looking at your habitat for the best success for you. I enjoy doing that! I also enjoy meeting new people who love birds.
I enjoyed presenting twice this year, May and October, at Virginia Tech’s Reynolds Homestead, in Critz, VA. I thank them for allowing me to present there–I had such wonderful staff assistance, a beautiful room to present my displays and the PowerPoint slideshow in the Continuing Education Center, and all the working behind the scenes to get the word out via the press:
Again, as always, many thanks to my neighbor, Carl, who always is there to help me with workshop details for moving and repairing boxes as needed. Thank you, Carl! An article about Carl recognizing his efforts is in the Fall 2010 issue of the Bird Box, the VBS newsletter. It can be found online here on Page 2 (Adobe Acrobat Reader is necessary to see this page in PDF format):
Before we know it, 2011 nesting season will be upon us! I hope everyone has a blessed holiday season! Thank you for your support of this site and the Woolwine House Bluebird Trail.
All the best…………Christine
“Woo-Hoo for Blue!”
I hope to hear from you...leave a message at my mobile device: (703) 919-4302