Bluebird Large

 

Bluebird Conservation

…a student’s adventures with bluebirds

P1000612There was a time in the 1980’s when the Western Bluebird population in Orange County, California consisted of only 10 breeding pairs. It was at that time that bluebird enthusiasts like Richard Purvis began the work of conservation. Richard’s experiences as a child in Georgia ignited his passion for the birds. In 1984, he hung and began monitoring his first bluebird nest box in Orange County, California at O’Neill Regional Park. A group of enthusiasts, led by Richard, formed the Southern California Bluebird Club (SCBC) in 2006. A year later, the group’s nest boxes fledged 5,200 nestlings!

Bluebird eggs 6-9In 2012, San Clemente High School student Will Cox (photo on left) knew very little about the bluebird’s plight until he contacted the SCBC. After learning about the challenges these cavity nesters face through habitat loss, threats from other more aggressive cavity nesters, and environmental pollution, commonly in the form of Easter grass, Will decided to focus his Sea Scout Quartermaster service project on a team build of bluebird nesting boxes. 

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The Western Bluebird (Sialia mexicana), is songbird that primarily eats insects and tree berries. The small thrush is a secondary cavity nester, meaning that they find naturally occurring holes or utilize nest boxes, laying two complete clutches per season (about 4-6 eggs in each). Both parents feed the nestlings with insects and after their first brood fledges, the female lays her second complete clutch while the male cares for the first fledglings. When the second group of chicks fledges, they form the family with the parents and the first group. The males return to the nest area where they hatched and attract new females and start more families. 

You will find Western Bluebirds in open woodland, parks, grass fields with tall trees, backyards, burned areas, and farmland from sea level far up into the mountains. However, their non-aggressive nature makes them more susceptible to population loss from competing non-native birds. By building, installing, maintaining and monitoring bluebird boxes, enthusiasts like Will and Richard have been able to help build awareness and increase western bluebird conservation in their area.

Will arranged a Bluebird Box Build on March 31st and April 1st  in 2012 which included students from San Clemente High School in his AP Environmental Science class, friends and fellow Mariners.  Under Will’s direction and using plans from the Southern California Bluebird Club the participants made 10 new brightly painted bluebird boxes.  Will presented his boxes to the Bluebird Association at their May meeting. He also shared his service project at the 35th North American Bluebird Society Conference in Newport Beach, California in October 2012.

You will find Western Bluebirds in open woodland, parks, grass fields with tall trees, backyards, burned areas, and farmland from sea level far up into the mountains. However, their non-aggressive nature makes them more susceptible to population loss from competing non-native birds. By building, installing, maintaining and monitoring bluebird boxes, enthusiasts like Will and Richard have been able to help build awareness and increase western bluebird conservation in their area.

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Will arranged a Bluebird Box Build on March 31st and April 1st  in 2012 which included students from San Clemente High School in his AP Environmental Science class, friends and fellow Mariners.  Under Will’s direction and using plans from the Southern California Bluebird Club the participants made 10 new brightly painted bluebird boxes.  Will presented his boxes to the Bluebird Association at their May meeting. He also shared his service project at the 35th North American Bluebird Society Conference in Newport Beach, California in October 2012.


ADDITIONAL RESOURCES