Editor Note: Doug LeVaseurs is a Bluebird enthusiast with great credentials and he has graciously built and mounted a series of Bluebird nest boxes at Kachina Wetlands and this will establish the “Bluebird Trail”. You are eagerly invited to come out walk the Wetlands and experience the Bluebird Trail..
Hello Friends of the Wetlands!
An observant visitor will notice a nearly inconspicuous addition to the Kachina Wetlands…a fledgling bluebird trail! Thanks to the support of the Northern Arizona Audubon Society six bluebird nest boxes have been erected on the 70 acre parcel. From 1850 to 1970 bluebird populations in North America plummeted more than 90%for two reasons: the introduction of two competitive non native species, the European Starling and the House Sparrow and the loss of nesting sites. Then in 1978 Larry Zeleny (1904-1995) founded the North American Bluebird Society. Thus began one of the most successful grass roots conservation success stories ever embarked upon. It took no government grants or loans, no wealthy donors just thousands of regular folks all across North America erecting and monitoring bluebird nesting boxes. NABS still thrives as do its 62 affiliate organizations in 32 states, 4 Canadian provinces and Bermuda too!
We hope our bluebird trail will be both educational and productive. not to mention fun. With that in mind let me describe the two box designs now found at the Wetlands. The triangular appearing box was designed by Minnesota native dick Peterson (1919-2000). Dick started building boxes in the 1970’s. Dick and his friend, Dave Algren built and distributed more than 60,000 boxes of this design through 30 states and several Canadian Provinces. Many boxes were given away. All the profits from the sale of Dick’s boxes were plowed back into the bluebird conservation movement. Neither Dick nor Dave made a penny from the sale of Dick’s boxes. It is about the only bluebird box you will find on bluebird trails in the state of Minnesota. It has a proven track record for raising bluebirds.
The more typical squarish looking box is the flagship box design of the NABS. NABS founder Larry Zeleny, took a personal interest in the design of this box. It has been only slightly modified over the past 40 years. The “old” top opening box design makes the box a bit more difficult to clean but when banding nestlings it offers added protection against premature fledging. This box also has a proven track record for fledgling bluebirds. So, I believe we are off to a good start! Look to see many more bluebirds at the wetlands in the seasons to come!
Past President , NABS