Did you know the Young Naturalists’ have be monitoring bluebird populations around Saskatoon since 1968? Join naturalist Greg Fenty as he works with monitoring bluebirds and Tree Swallows along the Bluebird Trail.
The Bluebird Trail is a bird monitoring program to keep track of cavity nesting birds such as bluebirds and Tree Swallows. (Cavity nesting birds are birds that nest inside hollow trees. A nest box or bird house is essentially an artificial hollow tree). Since 1968 the Young Naturalists, along with many others, have been monitoring special nest boxes. The boxes are arranged in a sequence that is called the Bluebird Trail. The trail runs from near Edmonton to Winnipeg. Our portion of the trail runs from Langham to Hanley.
Our monitoring of Bluebirds and Tree Swallows along our section of the trail is part of a larger biodiversity study looking at the recovery of Bluebirds (once a species at risk) and long-term population trends. Greg has a scientific permit to band birds from the Canadian Wildlife Service, so our program also uses leg bands to track and study the birds. Unlike other bluebird monitoring programs we carefully remove the baby birds from the nest box (which is the fun part for our group) to fit a numbered leg band around their legs.
Here is our 2015 schedule of next box monitoring. You can sign up for as many dates as you like. Enrolment is limited on any particular date to avoid stressing the birds. I usually stay out of the trail for about 2 hours. You are welcome to head back home at any time during the program. See below for meeting locations.
Thursday, June 4 6:30 p.m. West meeting location
Friday, June 5 6:30 p.m. West meeting location
Saturday, June 6 1:00 p.m. South meeting location
Monday, June 8 6:30 p.m. South meeting location
Tuesday, June 9 6:30 p.m. West meeting location
Monday, June 15 6:30 p.m. West meeting location
Tuesday, June 16 6:30 p.m. West meeting location
Wed. June 17 6:30 p.m. South meeting location
Wed. June 24 6:30 p.m. West meeting location
Thursday, June 25 6:30 p.m. West meeting location
Postponed to Friday, June 26 (West meeting location) at 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, June 27 1:00 p.m. South meeting location
Monday, July 6 6:30 p.m. West meeting location (if needed)
Thursday, July 9 6:30 p.m. South meeting location (if needed)
Tuesday, July 14 6:30 p.m. West meeting location (if needed)
Thursday, July 16 6:30 p.m. South meeting location (if needed)
To sign up for any particular date send me an e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or leave a message on the answering machine (306-975-3042) and I will send a confirmation along with more information about the Bluebird Trail. (Please register. I will leave the meeting locations early if all the registered participants have arrived. I can’t wait for you if I don’t know you are coming. Thanks).
To help you pick a date or dates, here is a rough guide to what happens on the trail:
First week of June:
Tree Swallows are sitting on eggs. We find out which boxes have Tree Swallows and how many eggs they have. We occasionally catch an adult Tree Swallow sitting on her eggs. Bluebirds eggs will be very close to hatching or there may be young bluebirds in the nest. (Note: Mountain Bluebirds are a recovering species at risk, only about 2-4% of the boxes have bluebirds). We will also be replacing broken nest boxes.
Second Week of June:
Tree Swallows are still sitting on eggs. Some Tree Swallow eggs may have hatched. Most bluebird eggs will have hatched by now and the young will be getting old enough to band.
Third Week of June:
Tree Swallow babies will start to hatch. Some may be old enough to band. Bluebirds will be old enough to band by this time.
Fourth Week in June:
Tree Swallows should all be hatched and old enough to band.
Meeting locations: (There is travelling involved).
The west meeting location is the Royal Bank parking lot on Betts Avenue (in the same mall complex as Walmart on the west end of 22nd Street. The Royal Bank is by the Staples Store). Highway 14 intersects the trail about 18 km west of Saskatoon.
The southeast meeting location is at the Petro Canada gas station at Grasswood Road and Highway 11. The trail is located about 40 km south of Saskatoon and runs roughly parallel to the east side of Blackstrap Lake.
To sign up for any particular date or for more information send me an e-mail (email@example.com) or leave a message on the answering machine (306-975-3042).