Bluebird Trail Posts

Bluebird Trail Posts

The Bluebird Trail: A Promise Kept

If it were a Hollywood film script, it would start with a flashback to World War II. One of the two leading characters is a Squadron Commander shot down in the China Sea who uses his 45 to shoot the sharks circling his life raft, runs out of water, keeps one last bullet for himself and is rescued on the 11th day. The other is a Navy medic stationed stateside with the Fleet Marines.

Fast forward some 45 years after they serve; they meet and, like lots of friendships made here at The Landings, they become close. Their lives and interests intersect on the golf course and at church. The pilot keeps busy in retirement making bluebird houses. He goes to building sites, picks up scrap lumber and nails his handiwork to trees. He’s got maybe 10 or 15 boxes up and running when, in the early 1990s, he is stricken with cancer.

On his deathbed, he asks his friend if he would take over this bluebird project. “Yes,” his friend replies, “he would be honored.” And so Chuck Owen spent 18 years “trying to please” his late friend Dave Scott.

Today, alongside every golf course at The Landings Club there are bluebird boxes – 185 of them – making the Dave Scott Bluebird Trail the longest monitored bluebird trail in the Southeastern U.S. George James, Chairman of the Dave Scott Bluebird Program watches over the project with vigilance. Trained volunteers are responsible for tending boxes on nine holes, they track activities of the bluebirds and count bluebirds fledged during the nesting season from March 1 to August 1. Betsy Flaherty, collects weekly reports from the monitors with information about how each box is producing. This past year (2013-2014), a record number of bluebirds were fledged, 1106 along with 47 chickadees, and 88 nuthatches. Bluebirds normally lay five eggs, and may nest three times in a season.

Boxes that aren’t producing are relocated along the courses; some are out in the open, but all are on posts with baffles, to protect them from predators — raccoons, snakes and opposums. As boxes need to be replaced or moved, George James with the assistance of the club’s grounds personnel takes charge. The trail serves as an important part of the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Certification program.

 

Bluebird Trail – April 28th

Photo of the baby chickadees from last week – now 9 days old – so grown up!  Bluebird babies are here and more are coming! The best part about this week’s trail run was my company – Emily – 7 and Sambo – 8 – joined me on my hour of peace!  I love teaching – especially about my birds and babies – in turn they loved learning and experiencing the amazing sights I see weekly.  They had the opportunity to figure out how old each nest of nestlings were with comparison to the daily photos in the bluebird book.  We look forward to seeing a lot more nestlings next week! 1 nuthatch nest 10 bluebird nests 1 chickadee nest SamboEmily chickadees about 9 days oldbluebird babies

Bluebird Trail – April 21st

It sure was a cold morning and a steady wind – meaning the mama birds did not want to leave the nests for me to check!  Here are photos!

We have itty bitty baby chickadees just a few days old!

Update on the nuthatch nest – mama nuthatch was brooding her eggs – hopefully that means this nest will be successful!

1 nuthatch nest

10 bluebird nests

1 chickadee nest

blue mama w eggs

chickadees a few days oldnuthatch on eggs

Bluebird Trail – April 13th

April 13th

The two nuthatch babies in rehab had a few ups and downs developmentally, however, they are now both doing well and learning to feed on their own!  They will soon be released!  The nuthatch nest with missing eggs has two eggs again…this should be interesting!

 

More sad news – the first nest of bluebird nestlings did not make it for some reason – I spoke with a neighbor and she said that she believes there is a hawk problem.  This hawk has caused two problems – dead nestlings in one house and a missing mother who only left 1 egg in another house.

Note the bluebird nest with one egg and the feather decorations.  There is black moss under the egg – this can cause a problem for the nestlings for their legs may become stuck and they will not be able to fledge or their legs will not grow properly.  Please make sure you remove the black moss asap once you see it!

2 nuthatch nests

9 bluebird nests

1 chickadee nest

2nd nh babiesrehab nhschickadee nestinteresting chickadee nestMama blue broodingBluebird nest black moss

Bluebird Trail – March 23rd

March 23rd

Sad news – one of the nuthatch nests had starving and very cold nestlings.  I was able to rescue four babies and two made it into the care of Orphaned Birds.  They were underdeveloped and struggling to hold on.  The neighboring bluebirds did not want the nuthatches to nest in that house and made feeding and brooding the nuthatch babies very difficult for the nuthatch parents.  The temperature outside was still very cool in the evenings and mornings.  Another nuthatch nest’s eggs were missing and I found an apple core in the box…hum…humans, not bluebirds this time!

mama nh and babynh parents

Bluebird Trail – March 17th

March 17th

We are up to 6 active nests out of 17 houses.

3 nuthatch nests

2 bluebird nests

1 chickadee nest

5 bluebird eggsChickadee nest start

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