Songbird Nest Box Volunteer training will occur on Saturday, March 23, 2013, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the A. B. Ceder Classroom. Please bring a lunch, paper, and pencil. Dress for the weather.!
Photo By Bob Stanowski
Figure 1: Eastern Bluebirds Counted on USGS Breeding Bird Survey Routes
that Traverse WMF (1967 - 2008), Trend-line Added.
The Songbird Nest Box Program has proven a success for helping to restore Eastern Bluebirds to WMF but it only helps the birds a little. Eastern Bluebirds are not consistently successful at fledging young every year. Connecticut is found in the more northern portion of Eastern Bluebird distribution and southern populations are more abundant than northern populations (Figure 2). This suggests that Eastern Bluebirds are better adapted to a slightly warmer climate. Yet, Connecticut offers enough habitats to make it worth a Bluebird’s effort to still attempt to reproduce because some birds are successful at producing young even though some seasons do not offer the best conditions. Bluebirds migrate as early as they can from winter habitats (April) so that they can locate a nest site, reproduce, incubate eggs, and raise young. This gives the young enough time to develop so they are physically capable of migrating to warmer climates by the next winter. Connecticut’s breeding Bluebird population is vulnerable to early spring weather conditions that could kill young birds due to exposure. Late frosts, extended cold rain, and freezing temperatures contribute to young birds dying. The nest boxes are designed to meet the needs of the birds while they need a nest site by providing as dry a micro-habitat as possible and protecting the birds from predators and non-native species. The habitat around each nest box is managed by mowing and controlling the vegetation so that Bluebirds can find enough food for their chicks. Check the map at the bottom of this page to see the Songbird Nest Box locations. The boxes must be visited to collect data and to assess how the box is functioning. We have designed a program that provides the volunteers with the option of deciding how much time they can commit to the program. Each nest box must be visited at least twice a year but more frequent visits allow us to learn more about the population. If you have only a little bit of time then you can meet the minimum requirements, but if you have more time to commit then the program will benefit. There are several important things to learn about nest boxes and the birds that use them prior to volunteering with the program. Therefore, we require that if someone wishes to volunteer their time, they must attend a training session offered by WMCC Staff.