The Eastern Bluebird was once one of North Carolina’s most common songbirds. Man’s activities and several severe winters resulted in our Bluebird population declining by 90%. By 1979, Bluebirds were declared endangered due to loss of habitat, increased chemical use, and non-native bird competition. Conservation efforts have helped to bring back the Bluebird population, which keeps the insect population in check.
In September, Ray Welch, President of the North Carolina Bluebird Society, from Winston-Salem and local Bluebird Coordinator, Carol Reid of Brasstown, taught the lessons on Bluebird monitoring and conservation to students at The Learning Center. The North Carolina Bluebird Society is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring the future of the Eastern Bluebird and other cavity-nesting birds native to North Carolina.
Teacher Stephanie Hopper’s second graders used guidelines from the North Carolina Bluebird Society to monitor the nest box and keep “citizen science records” to log their observations. Monitoring leads to early detection of problems that might impact their survival and provides valuable research data. The students will be able to monitor yearly birdcounts that will be added to the national counts. Bluebirds often have two and three broods each summer so monitoring can continue through the end of August.
“The Bluebird lessons teach students that taking care of the natural environment and its wildlife is also a way of caring for humanity,” said Reid. Additional information on bluebirds can be found at www.ncbluebird.org or at Hill Gallery and Working Studios, 139 Emily Lane, Brasstown, NC at the local coordinator’s office. Contact Carol Reid at 828-361-6580.