SFOC Bluebird Brigade Marches On
Sharon Friends of Conservation’s bluebird monitors reported another successful season. While the final tally is not complete, we easily exceeded the 25 fledglings of last year. Good monitoring helps ward off the many perils bluebirds face before and after hatching. Monitors report and correct such things as wasps’ nests, damage to bluebird houses, and intrusions by other birds and predators.
Our bluebird trails at present consist of 22 houses in various parts of Sharon. They are complemented by many bluebird houses at the Moose Hill Audubon Sanctuary, which are monitored by Mass Audubon volunteers. Each year we have added houses. The plan is to bring the total up to 30 to be ready for 2012 nesting season.
All houses are sited in open fields. If too close to residences or dense trees, the bluebird houses are often commandeered by other species such as house wrens and sparrows. Locating the houses takes up large areas of meadows or fields. Sharon’s open spaces consist in large part of forests and wooded areas. Meadows are in somewhat short supply. Our trails consist of pairs of houses, separated by about 30 feet. Each pair is then separated by 300 feet.
Surprisingly, bluebirds don’t get along well as neighbors. They do get along with certain other species, primarily tree swallows. The tree swallows will actually help defend the bluebird neighbors’ nests and have reportedly acted as foster parents. As our monitors can attest, a tree swallow is mighty intimidating when it buzzes within inches of your ear if you meddle with its own or a bluebird neighbor’s house.
Later this fall we will announce the final tally of new bluebirds. At some point (probably November) we will have a seminar conducted by Bob Hurd of Wild Birds Unlimited in Easton. Please watch the SFOC Web site for the exact date.