Bring Back the Bluebirds project is an ambitious species recovery project, bringing together a suite of project partners, landowners, and citizen scientists with the goal of re-establish a breeding population of Western Bluebirds (Sialia mexicana) on southeastern Vancouver Island and the southern Gulf Islands. Historically, bluebirds nested in naturally occurring cavities (e.g. a hole in a tree); however, these cavities have been lost as a result of deforestation and out-competition by invasive, cavity-nesting species such as the house sparrow. This project supplements nesting cavities by supplying wooden nest boxes in high quality bluebird habitat and conducting translocations (where birds are physically introduced to the Cowichan valley from a stable population in Washington state).
Our project is focused in the Cowichan Valley, near Quamichan and Somenos lakes, where we have been releasing bluebirds since 2012. Each spring, in addition to the bluebirds we release each year, we have seen adult and juvenile bluebirds returning to the Cowichan Valley. They are all successfully establishing breeding territories in suitable habitat, finding mates, and raising broods of their own. Beginning in 2017, the Cowichan Valley Naturalists’ Society has been monitoring the population of Western Bluebirds in the Cowichan area.