Slowing Down on the Bluebird Trail

Drew WeberBird Websites, Conservation IssuesLeave a Comment

This post is brought to you by Neil Paprocki, a Raptor Biology Master’s student at Boise State University and Scientific Director for Wild Lens Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit video production company focused on addressing wildlife conservation issues. Help tell one of the greatest conservation success stories of the 20th century by supporting the Kickstarter campaign for a new documentary about one man’s role in the successful recovery of North America’s bluebirds. The half-hour film entitled Bluebird Man will be broadcast on Idaho Public Television, and potentially many other PBS affiliates in 2014.

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Fast-paced, competitive birding sure is fun. The excitement of seeing as many species in a day, year, or lifetime can be as thrill seeking for some as jumping out of an airplane is for others. However, sometimes it is just as important to slow down and watch one species in particular, even if it seems to be a relatively common one. In this case, we turn our attention to one group of birds: the bluebirds.

Male and Female Mountain Bluebird

Male and Female Mountain Bluebird

What if the North American Bluebird Society hadn’t acted to reverse bluebird population declines in the 1970s by setting up nest boxes along bluebird trails? It is likely that bluebirds would still be around, but in far fewer numbers than we see today. In some regions, they might even be considered a rarity if dedicated citizen scientists hadn’t acted to reverse population declines.

Male Mountain Bluebird

Male Mountain Bluebird

Instead, what we have today are fairly healthy bluebird populations all across North America. There are some exceptions of course, but on the whole, bluebirds are doing quite well. There is a whole community of ‘bluebirders’ out there who take a lot of pride in monitoring bluebirds and maintaining bluebird boxes. These range from folks with one bluebird box on their deck, to people like 91-year old Alfred Larson of Boise, Idaho who has 300 bluebird boxes around southwest Idaho and has been monitoring them for 35 years!

91-year old Al Larson checking a bluebird box

91-year old Al Larson checking a bluebird box

Many avian conservation projects can seem hopeless at times. By telling the story of one man’s role in this inspiring conservation success story, we want to give hope to those other seemingly hopeless conservation efforts. A single individual can make a difference! Help us tell Al’s story by backing Bluebird Man on Kickstarter. We’d love to have your support.

Female Mountain Bluebird defending her nest box

Female Mountain Bluebird defending her nest box