Spotlight on Allies: New York State Bluebird Society

By Gail Browning

The NYS Bluebird Society began in 1982, according to Director Jennifer Murtaugh, a SUNY Cobleskill graduate. The State division partners with the North American Bluebird Society and is dedicated to increasing the population of the Eastern bluebird (Sialia sialis). County coordinators and volunteers compile statistics by erecting and monitoring nesting boxes in New York State. One example of their dedication is the New York State Bluebird Trail with boxes established all along Route 20 and including the Landis Arboretum. Through their efforts, the bluebird population has increased by 70% from 1985 to 2005.

Did You Know?

  • Nesting boxes should be placed in pairs to encourage both bluebirds and tree swallows to coexist. Otherwise, place boxes 100 yards apart.
  • The nesting box hole for Eastern Bluebirds is 1.5 inches in diameter.
  • Remove the nest from the birdhouse after the nestlings fledge to promote subsequent nesting, as bluebirds may nest 3 times in a season.
  • Bluebird eggs are generally clear blue, in clutches of 4-6 eggs. Incubation time is approximately 14 days from when the last egg was laid.
  • Bluebirds migrate southward and generally return mid-March.
  • Some birds will remain in the North during winter, as long as they can find food, water, and shelter.
  • Winter food can consist of berries from holly, bayberry, and mulberry bushes and suet/cornmeal formula-based mixes you can purchase or make yourself from recipes found online at nysbs.org.

Consider placing bluebird nesting boxes on your property and enjoy the antics of this beautiful bird throughout the year. More information about the Eastern Bluebird and about their nesting boxes can also be found at nysbs.org.


Winter 2016

Volume 34 , Number 1

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