Since we changed the name of our organization to honor our founder the late Len Anderson, we had to make a few changes to our site. Of course, that meant we also had to change our logo.
I was able to apply the changes to our old logo without modifying the theme.
This new logo will display on our site, pamphlets, and most importantly, the signage on the nest boxes that we monitor.
The signs contain contact information in case someone finds the nest box damaged or if they are interested in helping our organization.
It has been an interesting year for our little group of Bluebird lovers. There was lots of activity at our boxes this year. Here are the quick stats of 2018:
We were lucky to have 15 Bluebird nesting attempts. Eight of those attempts resulted in at least one Bluebird fledgling. The total number of Bluebirds that fledged from our boxes in 2018 was 30. This total is a bit less than last year, but we made some changes to some nestboxes that may have contributed to the dip in number. Other factors that we take into account are weather, parasites, and predators.
We got a late start with our nest boxes this year due to the crazy weather, but we are busy now. We had to do some extra spring maintenance this year. Some of our boxes were older and damaged.
We are checking our boxes regularly for any nesting signs, not to mention evicting House Sparrows. We have some trouble areas, but we hope to nip them in the bud fast. Here are the latest stats on our boxes.
We still have snow on the ground, but The Clarence Bluebird Trail is getting ready for spring. I spent a sunny but chilly afternoon checking all of our nest boxes for winter damage. Some of our boxes were easily accessible while others required me to don my snowshoes. After schlepping approximately four miles, I have a list of repairs and possible plans for this year.
Owners of Bluebird nestboxes should check the condition of the boxes in early spring. Birds are already scoping out nesting sites, and a damaged box will look unappealing to prospective tenants. In western New York, winters can wreak havoc on the boxes.
Well, folks, the breeding season has come to a close and our little Bluebirds are getting ready for winter. Like every year, we had successes and failures. Most of our failures are due to nature’s fury and there isn’t much we can do about it. Our job is to provide appropriate nest boxes for the birds and monitor them regularly to get data and we seem to be doing a good job at that.
Our annual end of the year meeting is scheduled for 10 AM on September 28 at Zion Lutheran Church, 9535 Clarence Center Rd, Clarence Center, NY 14032. We will highlight our stats and practices used during the year. I took some time to check our data and create some graphs for the meeting. Since this is the Clarence Bluebird Trail’s 5th year of monitoring, I decided to create some graphs to show trends over time. If you’re interested in seeing all of the data, please feel free to join us at the meeting.
Well, after collecting a lot of data, we can show off some of our numbers. Our feathered friends came out early this year, and there have been many successful nest attempts. A successful attempt is when at least one bird fledges from the nest. Of course, we hope for more.
We currently monitor 16 Bluebird (Sialia sialis) nest boxes in the Town of Clarence. We removed two boxes last year plagued by House Sparrows (Passer domesticus). We hope to house Bluebirds, but the boxes are great for other beneficial cavity nesters. We frequently find House Wrens (Troglodytes aedon), Tree Swallows (Tachycineta bicolor), and Black-capped Chickadees (Poecile atricapillus).
The birds started nesting in early April. Here are our stats so far:
We had our first meeting of 2017, but that doesn’t mean the birds waited for us. Even before we sat down to discuss plans for some of our boxes and review our previous year’s stats, the birds were busy making nests and laying eggs. The weather has been nice, so I can’t blame them. The birds got a head start on us, and we have to play catch up.
We temporarily reduced the number of our nest boxes. House Sparrows inundated the two at the local library, so we wanted to prevent them from using them. As soon as we find a new location for them, we will let you know.
If this crazy weather has you wondering when spring will arrive, you’re not alone. If you’re wondering when the Bluebirds will return, well, some may already be here looking for the perfect home to start their family.
Spring officially won’t begin for a couple of weeks, but the wildlife don’t use the same type of calendar that we do. Warmer temperatures will entice migratory birds back to their breeding grounds. So that means The Clarence Bluebird Trail needs to get ready.
Our 2017 Spring Meeting is scheduled for Saturday, April 22, at 10:00 AM. We will meet at Zion Lutheran Church, 9535 Clarence Center Road, Clarence Center, NY, to discuss our new year of nest box monitoring. All are welcome.
At our meeting, you can get information on our monitoring program. You can learn:
- what type of nest box is best for Eastern Bluebirds
- how and where to install the nest box
- how to identify various species, their nests, and eggs
- how to monitor the birds during the breeding season
- what type of data we collect
- how we help with Eastern Bluebird conservation in Western New York
If you would like to join our organization but are unable to attend the meeting, please feel free to contact us. We can arrange some time to instruct you and pair you up with a bird buddy if you don’t already have one.
We are always happy to have volunteers join us in our conservation mission. After all…it’s for the birds.
Well, here they are. We have the results of this year’s nest box data. Honestly, I hate to close out the year. We did well with our Bluebird (Sialia sialis) fledgling numbers, and I was hoping our group could meet to review them. Unfortunately, scheduling conflicts prevented that.
Therefore, along with the regular stats, I thought I would include some charts to show the progress of The Clarence Bluebird Trail over the last few years.
Even though many of our lawns are brown from lack of rain, we have been busy with our nest boxes this year. I intended to post an update earlier in the season, but we ran into a few hiccups with entering data on the NestWatch site. After spending a couple of days furiously entering and compiling, I found I was still behind. The birds were laying many eggs. Hey, they don’t wait for us. They work on their own timetable.
Now that we have a good amount of our data, and even some photos and videos, I feel confident at giving you a review of how our nest boxes are doing this season.
For those that aren’t familiar with our organization, we have 18 nest boxes in the Clarence area. These are located at Beeman Creek Park, Memorial Park, Peanut Line Bike Path, West Shore Bike Path, and the Clarence Town Library. All the sites have grassy fields, with large trees nearby—ideal habitat for the Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis).
Our volunteers check the boxes every few days and log when an avian species uses them for breeding. Our small crew works hard maintaining the boxes, identifying the nesting species and jotting down all the information.
Although it is only the end of July, we are well on our way to beating our end of the year total for 2015.
In the chart above, you can see various totals. A nest attempt is any nest with at least one egg present. The data allows us to keep track of the number of eggs laid, number of chicks that hatch, and the number that eventually fledge the nest.
This data is from multiple species of birds in the area. Although we are concerned with providing Bluebirds a safe nesting place, House Wrens (Troglodytes aedon), Black-capped Chickadees (Poecile atricapillus), Tree Swallows (Tachycineta bicolor), and House Sparrows (Passer domesticus) also use the boxes.
The Eastern Bluebird
We have had 10 nest attempts for Bluebirds so far this season. Our nest boxes allowed 20 young Bluebirds to fledge successfully. We are thrilled with every success and hope to see a few more. We currently have three active Bluebird nests, one with a few partially feathered young.
The Tree Swallow
The Tree Swallows are insectivores, just like Bluebirds. They are very beneficial and, like most birds, are a protected species. There were six nest attempts, with 19 fledglings. Our most successful broods had 5-6 young fledge.
This year I was able to film some nest box checks. Here is one of a Tree Swallow. The female even stayed in the box while I filmed.
The House Wren
The House Wren is a small bird with big aspirations. Besides making nests in our Bluebird nest boxes, they will also create dummy nests in nearby boxes to lessen the chance of rival birds. It‘s not too hard to tell the difference between the two, especially when the tiny Wren’s eggs show up in the nest shortly after it is made.
There were 10 nesting attempts by House Wrens, with 23 fledglings so far. We still have three active Wrens nests with young, so we still have to wait for the final totals at the end of the season.
The Black-capped Chickadee
In the past, we had Chickadees nest in some of our boxes. This year we weren’t so lucky. They have been seen at some of the sites, but the chose other locations for raising their families.
The House Sparrow
This common bird is very difficult to deal with. House Sparrows are an invasive species, and wreak havoc on other birds. They will not only destroy eggs and young of other nesting birds in the area, but also the adults. To make matters worse, they like to use the Bluebird nest boxes as well.
House Sparrows will occasionally visit some of our sites. Our best defense is to remove any nests started by the House Sparrow before they start breeding. Because the House Sparrows are not afraid of people, they will nest in the eaves of buildings and signage. They see our boxes are prime real estate.
This is constant issue with the nest boxes at the Clarence Town Library. Our goal was to utilize two nest boxes at the library and fit one with a nest camera for a live feed inside the building. Unfortunately, the invasive species plague that site. We have removed over twenty partial House Sparrow nests from the boxes, and I personally have witnessed the birds attacking Tree Swallows at one of the boxes. At this time, it is not advisable to install a camera in a box that will not produce nesting footage.
After the season is through, our group will discuss if the library site is still a good fit for the Bluebird nest boxes. In fact, that is what we do each year. We review our totals and determine the best placement for the nest boxes, in order to provide optimal nesting for the Eastern Bluebird.
We still have a couple of months of breeding left for the year. Thanks to our volunteers, we will continue to check the boxes and collect data. It can be hot, or muggy, but with persistence and patience, we can aid our state bird in increasing its numbers.
For those interested in helping, it is not too late. Feel free to contact us. You can spend time outdoors, aiding wildlife, and being part of our bird loving community. After all, it’s for the birds.