Thanks to David Buckner and Cleve Hickman, who constructed and donated 15 bluebird nesting boxes. Several boxes have been installed at Boxerwood; the remaining boxes were given to volunteers who plan to monitor them on their own property. In return, recipients have made a donation to join the Virginia Bluebird Society.
Earlier this month, volunteers met at Boxerwood to construct predator guards for new and existing nest boxes; Noel guards to prevent cats, raccoons and squirrels from reaching in; and stovepipe guards to thwart snakes. All boxes on the Woods Creek and Boxerwood trails are now equipped with both kinds of predator guards, qualifying them to be listed as bluebird trails with the Virginia Bluebird Society. (The W&L boxes are mounted on light poles, so only Noel guards could be affixed.) Thanks to Deb Gordon, Beverly Bruck, Hank Dobin, Vicki and Lad Sessions, Anne and Dave Buckner, and Laure Stevens-Lubin for their help in making and installing the guards.
Peter Hamel, a Rockbridge Master Naturalist and Park Service ranger, is coordinating monitoring on the Woods Creek Trail. Pete is also working with Elise Sheffield, Boxerwood’s Education Director, to involve Waddell third- and fourth-graders in the project this spring. The kids will take turns helping Pete, Henry Eichelberger and Ashley Coleman monitor boxes along Woods Creek that are adjacent to the school grounds, and will participate in classroom-integrated lessons facilitated by Boxerwood. Mollie Calomeris has volunteered to monitor two other Woods Creek boxes with her children.
Deb Gordon, president of the Rockbridge Master Naturalists, is coordinating nest box monitoring on the Washington and Lee campus, assisted by Vicki and Lad Sessions, Dawn and Tom Peck, and Pat Stange, all Master Naturalists. Thanks to Chris Wise, the facilities manager who heads up W&L’s sustainability program. Chris and his staff mapped all the boxes on campus and readied them for monitoring.
Maury Hanson, a Kendal resident and member of the Rockbridge Bluebird Club, is coordinating nest box monitoring by neighbors at Kendal.
All monitors participating in the Bluebird Conservation Project are using the NestWatch website platform to record and share nest-watching data. NestWatch, a nationwide monitoring program run by Cornell Lab of Ornithology, tracks status and trends in the reproductive biology of birds. The NestWatch website provides resources and tutorials on monitoring protocols; how to find, identify nests and monitor nests; how to record data, and more.
Bird club members are welcome and encouraged to join our NestWatch “community.” You may monitor nests for any bird species, in nest boxes or in the open. For more information, please contact Bonnie (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Bonnie Bernstein, a Master Naturalist, member of the Rockbridge Bird Club, and Boxerwood education volunteer, is directing the Rockbridge Bluebird Conservation Project for Rockbridge Master Naturalists, the Bird Club and the City of Lexington. She will also serve as the online administrator for the Rockbridge NestWatch Community.