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 nys​bs​.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 nys​bs​.org.

Winter 2016

Volume 34 , Number 1

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