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CELEBRATING THE SUCCESS OF THE TRAIL — CHECK OUT THE RECORDS.


MY FAVORITE QUOTES (note I like the early year quotes the best!):

A man’s interest in a single bluebird is worth more than a complete but dry list of the fauna and flora of a town.”  ~  Letter, November 22, 1858, from Henry D. Thoreau to Daniel Ricketson, in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, 1906

And when he sings to you, Though you’re deep in blue, You will see a ray of light creep through,  And so remember this, life is no abyss, Somewhere there’s a bluebird of happiness. Life is sweet, tender and complete, when you find the bluebird of happiness.” 
~  Bluebird of Happiness, lyrics by Edward Heyman & Harry Parr Davies, 1934

“As the pressure of population increasingly regiments us and crowds us closer together, an association with the wild, winged freedom of the birds will fill an ever growing need in our lives.”  ~ Edwin Way Teale, introduction to Songbirds in Your Garden, 1953

“The birds richly repay you for the trouble you take in attracting them and looking out for their interests.”   ~ Joseph H. Dodson, Your Bird Friends and How to Win Them, 1928

“The bluebird carries the sky on his back.” ~   Henry David Thoreau, Journal, April 3, 1852

This graphic below:  here is a pretty good indication of a bluebird trail success from Year 1 (2008) with the first 14 nestbox installations–though the trail planning and building stage actually started in 2007–to this year, 2015.  The more nesting boxes you put up and monitor, the more native cavity-nesting birds you can fledge!  This gives me great satisfaction for the hard work that has ensued from year to year.   The satisfaction of knowing I’ve helped fledge birds is worth all the effort, for sure.

WHBBT TOTAL BIRDS FLEDGED--ONE PAGE

It’s important to keep accurate records. I can look back on this and feel good about my past 10 years. That is really when I started keeping an eye out and monitoring bluebirds and other cavity-nesting birds….in 2005 and 2006….that’s when it really started for me.

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CAROLINA CHICKADEE NEST AND EGGS IN INCUBATION


“Nature will bear the closest inspection. She invites us to lay our eye level with her smallest leaf, and take an insect view of its plain.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

Is this not the softest bed you ever laid eyes on?  Wouldn't you love to take a nap here?  I know I would!

Is this not the softest bed you ever laid eyes on? Wouldn’t you love to take a nap here? I know I would!

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HOUSE WREN ABANDONED NEST


This House Wren nest is the first completed nest and laid egg clutch on the Woolwine House Bluebird Trail for 2014.  I found this nest and 5 eggs on March 21.   I can only guess the date of the first egg laid. On April 18, the nest and eggs were removed and will be used for educational purposes — my display cases on my state and federal salvage permits.  I also had the opportunity to move the nestbox, per the owner’s request, which was fine with me.  The homeowner removed many large white pine trees last fall due to issues with falling branches during high winds and storms.  This created a new opportunity, even more open habitat, so perhaps this will be better for this nestbox.   Note the pretty Blue Ridge Mountains in the background.   Though bluebirds used this box last year, so did the wrens.   The location was open but it was still attracting the wrens and causing some competition problems.  We’ll see how long it takes for this box to be reoccupied by a different species.  It is never too late to change a strategy as long as you are not disturbing nesting native birds.

Abandoned nest.   Was she taken out by a hawk?   This is a nice example of what HOWR eggs look like.  They are sometimes hard to find inside their nests when inside the nestbox.

Abandoned nest. Was she taken out by a hawk? This is a nice example of what HOWR eggs look like. They are sometimes hard to find inside their nests when inside the nestbox.

After removing the HOWR nest, I moved the box on their property to here.  I do like it better, how about you?

After removing the HOWR nest, I moved the box on their property to here. I do like it better, how about you?

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FIRST FULL CLUTCH OF BLUEBIRD EGGS IN INCUBATION FOR 2014.


FIRST FULL CLUTCH OF BLUEBIRD EGGS IN INCUBATION FOR 2014.

Date of first egg laid was March 31. As of yesteday’s date (April 9, 2014), the trail presently consists of 22 bluebird nests, some with eggs; 3 Carolina Chickadee nests in progress; a full House Wren nest with a clutch of 5 eggs (they beat the bluebirds for the whole season in nesting!); and a possible Tree Swallow nest.

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MY PLACE!


My Place!

This Mrs. Bluebird says a big “Hiya! Do you see me?” along the bluebird trail. She’s liking her nesting digs and seems to appreciate getting some attention here. No fear at all, can you tell? This weathered box is about 15, possibly 20 years old. Painted white and looking rather pretty weathered, actually. Fledging young successfully will be priority this season. I will report my findings to the owners–adjustments will be made, if necessary.

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HEY, I’M INCUBATING!


HEY, I'M INCUBATING!

This pretty lady says “No way am I budging!” …. brave one she is. I took the photo and decided to count the eggs in this clutch on another day. I will not force her from her important Mom duties. When I left the box, I thanked her for her patience with me. This was taken on Friday, April 12, 2013, in a top-opening nestbox.

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FINALLY HERE…THE FIRST EGGS FOR NESTING SEASON 2013.


THE FIRST EGGS FOR NESTING SEASON 2013 HAVE ARRIVED!

First egg laid April 5, 2013. Compared to last year, the first egg laid on the trail was March 8, 2012! The birds waited for the weather to improve–much colder this spring. I can wait–no rushing these pretty blues.

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IS THIS A PERCH? ABOUT THOSE FUNNY-LOOKING NOEL GUARDS…


It is recommend not to install perches on nestboxes for bluebirds.  You’ve seen them–the small cylinder pieces of wood added right underneath a birdhouse’s entry hole.   They are not really necessary, and the bad news about them is perches can serve the predators by allowing some extra leverage for them to sit by the entry hole and pull out eggs and baby birds!  Even wrens and chickadees and most cavity nesters don’t need perches.   Take a look at these two photos I took of this male Eastern Bluebird sitting and investigating this nestbox at — and on — this Noel Guard (made from hardware cloth).  Question:  is this a perch?   The answer is:  No….it’s a porch!   Do the bluebirds mind  these guards?   Not only do they like “mind” them — they like them!   I’ve had nothing but great results using them.   Same answer for the other cavity-nesting birds using bluebird nestboxes.  They have no issues with these guards.  This “cat and raccoon” guard (originally designed by a gentleman by the name of Jim Noel) are also guards to ward off some avian predators, as well — starlings, hawks, owls, jays, etc.  I’ve used the vinyl-coated hardware cloth–like the coated better than the plain galvanized hardware cloth — smoother for the birds’ feet and feathers and easier on human hands during the building process.  What you see in this picture is plain galvanized.  Once you’ve lost bluebird babies and adults to predators inside your backyard bluebird nestbox or on your bluebird trail, you will realize how this guard adds added safety and success to the occupants raising their young until they fledge from the box and into the world.

See how to make them herehttp://www.virginiabluebirds.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/BB_Guards_12-11-2012.pdf

This male says "howdy do to you!"

This male says “howdy do to you!”

"Hmmm, wonder if my gal will like these digs?"

“Hmmm, wonder if my gal will like these digs?”