In March 2019, volunteers gathered and helped construct and place 12 Bluebird nest boxes around the property to create Great Marsh Institute’s Bluebird trail.  The trail was registered with Project NestWatch, which was created by Cornell Lab of Ornithology.  NestWatch is a nationwide monitoring program designed to track status and trends in the reproductive biology of birds, including when nesting occurs, number of eggs laid, how many eggs hatch, and how many hatchlings survive. The database is intended to be used to study the current condition of breeding bird populations and how they may be changing over time as a result of climate change, habitat degradation and loss, expansion of urban areas, and the introduction of non-native plants and animals. To become a certified Nestwatch monitor, volunteers must read and review Cornell’s nest box monitoring guide and pass a test to register.

Thank you to Joanne and Dave Karkosack who were very dedicated and did an excellent job of monitoring the boxes and recording the data every week.  It was quite a long nesting season with the final brood of three Bluebirds fledging September 6th!  There was a total yield of 16 Bluebird, 30 Tree Swallow and 16 House Wrens that successfully fledged. Next year, we will add a few more boxes at different locations and re-locate a few boxes that had high House Wren activity. “Wren guards” will also be tried on a couple boxes to test their effectiveness.

In 2020 we are hopeful to have an even more successful year than our first and are excited about adding American Kestrel nest boxes to the preserve and starting a monitoring program for Wood Ducks as well. For information about nest box monitoring and placement feel free to contact us!

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We are looking for folks that would like to sponsor a nest box for $100.  This donation will help to maintain the nest boxes. In return we will put up a plaque on the bluebird box with your name or you can name the nest box (be creative). If interested please contact Lori Moore, GMI Program Director at Greatmarshinstitute@gmail.com

Photo courtesy of Jim Moffett