By 1st grader, Alison Janickey, a future 5th grade Bluebird Trail Monitor
Bluebirds are members of the thrush family.
Bluebird Eggs are powder blue (no dark spots), sometimes white.
Bluebirds lay one egg a day, until they have a complete clutch. Incubation begins when the last egg is laid, so all the eggs will hatch around the same time.
The female lays one blue (or rarely white) egg each morning until three to six eggs are produced. Thirteen to fourteen days later, after incubation, all will hatch within hours of each other.
Both the male and the female adults tend to the nestlings. They feed the nestlings with soft insects graduating to courser foods as the nestlings grow. Each nestling is fed about every 20 minutes. The young grow rapidly. Their eyes open on the eighth day.
What is a Bluebird habitat?
Bluebirds prefer edge or open habitats with little ground cover. Bluebirds are cavity nesters, and are unable to dig their own cavities, so they rely on those made by other species, or naturally occurring cavities. Because of this, nest cavities are the limiting resource in most populations
What do they eat?
Blue Bird Grant
In December 2007, our Ecology Club received a grant from the Virginia Bluebird Society to enhance our existing Bluebird Trail at P.B. Smith Elementary School. Currently, we have ten nesting boxes on school grounds. However, many are in disrepair. The grant money will help replace nesting boxes and maintain the Bluebird Trail.
Our new nesting boxes will adhere to the Virginia Bluebird Society's standards and include predator guards to help limit predation of our nesting boxes. The boxes will have a cat/raccoon guard as well as a snake guard. These guards will help inhibit access by predators who feast on bluebird eggs.
In February, Ecology Club members will prune overgrown plants, clean out nesting boxes, and replace those boxes in disrepair. Then on a weekly basis, volunteers will observe and monitor the Bluebird Trail, documenting bluebird nests and fledglings. The documentation of nesting boxes can include such information as the cycle of nest building, laying, incubating and hatching of the eggs as well as fledging of the baby birds.
At the end of each nesting season, our volunteers will provide the Virginia Bluebird Society with a summary of the performance of our trail which includes results for each nest box on the trail. Our bluebird nesting documentation will be added to the results for the whole state of Virginia. Our Ecology Club members are eager to learn how best to maintain our Bluebird Trail and encourage future bluebirds to take up residence at P.B. Smith Elementary School. Please visit our site for our reports on bluebird nesting activity here at our school beginning in the spring of 2008.
To find out more about bluebirds visit www.virginiabluebirds.org
Fifth Grade Ecology Club Members
Connor and Jonathan
with a new nesting box donated and installed by a member of the Virginia Bluebird Society:
CHILDREN'S BLUEBIRD ACTIVITY BOOK
One of the key elements in the Mountain Bluebird Trails mission statement is the educating of people about the preservation of bluebirds and other cavity nesting birds. Many programs are put on each year by MBT members throughout Montana , Idaho and Wyoming and one of the key groups asking for more information and programs were grade school teachers. So when MBT received a generous donation from the Thomas and Stacey Siebel Foundation in the spring of 2007 the MBT board decided to use those funds to create a book filled with information targeted specifically for children in grades 2 through 6.
Myrna Pearman, the author of the Mountain Bluebird Trail Monitoring Guide, and Pauline Mousseau, a graphics designer were contracted with to produce this wonderful tool to educate children. Both ladies live in or near Red Deer , Alberta .
The Children's Bluebird Activity Book is now posted on the MBT website http://www.mountainbluebirdtrails.com/ and we hope you will not only take a moment to read through it, but talk to teachers and educators in your community about where to find. Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Boys and Girls Club should also find the book useful. This colorful book is 40 pages long and 1 page or the entire book can be printed right off the website at no cost.
Monday, May 20, 2013