You may know about our love of birds; we regularly schedule education programs on birds and strive towards conservation of habitat for native species. A more hands-on way we support the avian population is through our nest box program at Duke Farms.
We currently have 50 bluebird boxes on the property to encourage production and survivability of Eastern bluebird chicks. As each chick is banded, we record data on the health of the resident bluebird population at Duke Farms.
The numbers are as follows:
- 2016: 43 chicks banded
- 2017: 24 chicks banded
- 2018: 4 chicks banded
In a span of 2 years, we've gone from 43 to 4 chicks; that’s a 90% decrease. While some natural loss is expected, this year 5 nests were found and out of those 5, only one survived. Bluebirds tend to be meek and their nests are often ejected by other species (Tree Swallows and Wrens) before they can lay eggs. In addition, climate conditions and Blowfly are likely culprits for this year’s dwindling bluebird population; Blowfly was the cause of death for 2 nests and both heat and dehydration are suspected to be the cause of death for 2 other nests.
Here’s to anticipating a more hopeful year for bluebirds in 2019.