Call for Volunteer Birdbird Monitors
By Mike Lloyd, Cherokee County Master Gardener and Master Naturalist
BRRR … winter has finally arrived. Although winter is a time for nature to sleep and recharge, to me, it is the season to prepare … to prepare for Spring.
One item on my springtime prep list is maintaining bluebird nest boxes. We all have our favorite birds; bluebirds are among my picks … just seeing one in its bright blue plumage brings joy … they are known as harbingers of happiness. They are great birds to have around gardens, too, since they eat crawling insects on the crops but do not peck the produce; thus, these guys make organic
Bluebirds were once headed towards extinction. This was mostly due to loss of habitat (including loss of tree cavities) and competition from other cavity dwellers. This trend was reversed by the construction and proper placement of bluebird nest boxes, i.e., man-made cavities. So, they need people to provide them with a place to live. So, to help them, for more smiles and better gardens, it’s a great idea to put and maintain a bluebird nest box in your yard and help them in any way you can.
The Eastern Bluebird in Georgia is a small thrush and remains in Georgia year-round. They are native to North America. In the summer they eat crawling insects, such as, caterpillars, beetles, crickets, and grasshoppers. In the winter, when insects are not available, they switch to a diet of berries. Given that they eat crawling bugs in the warm months, the ideal bluebird habitat is a large, open grassy area with scattered trees and sparse ground cover. The availability of high and open tree branches to perch helps them spot those bugs. They can see them from 60 feet away! These perches also provide handy places for their fledglings to land.