May 28 update

Hello to all our Bluebird fans,

The upcoming translocation of a Western Bluebird family has us fussing like new parents, fixing up the nurseries (there are over 250 of them!) and fretting over the details. The due date is the last week of June, we will be sure to send out pictures of the new family as soon as we can!

In the meantime, there are a number of local species busy raising families of their own in the nest boxes. Tree Swallows, Violet-Green Swallows, Chickadees and even a Bewick’s Wren pair all have little nestlings demanding love and attention and above all MORE FOOD! We have been experimenting with hole reducer plates to find the right size to allow as many of our native cavity nesters as we can while excluding the invasive House Sparrows. We await the results of these experiments with curiosity.

While no Western Bluebirds have been on spotted Vancouver Island yet this season, one of our Cowichan raised Western Bluebirds has been spotted on San Juan Island! She has found a mate and is raising a clutch there. It is great to see these populations mingling as this will help the long-term survival of Western Bluebirds in the Georgia Strait area. San Juan Island has seen bluebirds from both Cowichan and from Washington. They may prove to be an important corridor connecting our population with the mainland.

Looking out for Western Bluebirds, we had the opportunity to sight a Lazuli Bunting. While I may have a personal bias towards bluebirds, the Lazuli Buntings are undeniably very pretty and a rare site around here. We love to hear about any sightings you have!

An important announcement for Thrifty Smile Card holders: June 15 is the last day to raise money for the Bring Back the Bluebirds project using the Smile Cards. You can spend money that you have loaded on the cards any time but only money loaded on the cards before this date will raise money for the project. For every $100 you put on your card, Thrifty’s will give the project $5 of their money.

With Covid restrictions starting to ease, I am looking forward to seeing much more of everyone. Maybe this year we can even enjoy our annual End of Season Appreciation Event?!

This female Western Bluebird was hatched in Cowichan in 2019 and is now nesting on San Juan Island. Photo provided by Kathleen Foley of San Juan Preservation Trust

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