Earl Garrison, master nest box rehabber
MONITORS ALWAYS NEEDED AND WELCOME
We have many golf courses, parks and greenbelts that need bluebird nestboxes and people to monitor them. It is fun and easy. If you are interested, write a comment at the bottom of this page or come to our regular meetings the first Saturday of the month at 15500 Sand Canyon, Irvine at the Irvine Ranch Water District community room. See the Home page for details and a map.
BECOMING A BLUEBIRD MONITOR
We encourage you to become a bluebird monitor. It is very rewarding to get so close to bluebirds and it will help maintain and expand the bluebird population in California. Becoming a bluebird monitor is fairly easy and does not require much of your time during the normal five-month nesting season, April through July. The first step is to contact an SCBC member closest to where you live who can help you get started. See the list of SCBC area coordinators on the Contact Us page.
INTRODUCTORY PAMPHLETS ON WESTERN BLUEBIRDS
An initial briefing will take about 30 minutes and will cover the following:
- Learning how to install and retrieve a nestbox.
- Reviewing the major steps in monitoring.
- Reviewing the form for recording weekly activities.
- Reporting year-end totals. Report your year-end totals to the CBRP state database.
- See the list of educational materials and monitoring equipment needed and the pamphlets linked above.
Before taking your first step, you must decide how involved you want to become. Many people want to just enjoy bluebirds in their backyard, and to increase the chances of this happening, we encourage you to install a nestbox. For those who want to become a little more involved, we invite you to become a monitor of a bluebird trail. In either case, please read further.
Western Bluebirds have a few predators in southern California, but the most damaging is the House Sparrow, formerly called English Sparrow. These non-native birds are cavity-nesters as well and may peck holes in bluebird eggs, kill nestlings and adults, or totally take over a nest box with their own nestling material. One attraction for sparrows is a seed-feeder that many people have in their backyards. These feeders allow sparrows to feel comfortable in your yard and thus they become a built-in peril for bluebirds trying to nest. If you plan to install a nest box for bluebirds, we strongly suggest you remove any seed-feeders – Nyger feeders are OK.
Another predator is the house cat. It is not unusual to see young fledglings fall to the ground when they try to fly. With all the feeding activity going on during this time, cats may be watching and ready to pounce on the vulnerable baby bluebirds. Try to keep pet cats under control during this period.
Because bluebirds are cavity-nesters, we encourage you to use a nestbox that meets certain dimensional criteria that have been designed by the Southern California Bluebird Club (SCBC). The next decision is whether to make your own nestbox or obtain one from the SCBC.
· Making Your Own Nestbox – Go to the Nest Box page to view the SCBC recommended nest box plans.
· Obtaining a Nestbox – If you do not have the tools or desire to build your own nestbox, contact Sully Reallon at (949) 496-9618 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.