Our first blue bird pair of the season has made their nest and laid their first egg of the year!

The swallows are also starting to lay, and several of their nests have a few eggs already!

April 28 Update

Please welcome our new Bluebird Technician, Francesca! Seen here taking on the challenge of spotting tiny coloured bands on tiny little bluebird legs

Francesca did manage to spot one of our returning bluebirds! We think he may have paired up with one of the newly released birds nearby.

Our first bluebird nest of the season! A returned pair has been busy all week building this lovely nest. It looks nearly ready and we hope to see eggs any day now!

April 19 Update: Will they or won’t they?!

This time of year is full of suspense! First it’s will the first translocation go smoothly (it did!) then it’s what bluebirds will return and will they all stay. Today we will release the two pairs that came over from Washington and wait to see if they make themselves at home. I am happy to report that so far we have spotted three of last year’s Cowichan bluebirds returning. One pair appears to have chosen a nesting territory already! Please keep your eyes open and let us know if you spot any bluebirds.

Bluebird release July 2021

Volunteers Wanted!

Do you have a truck? Do you like to help build things? Due to some recent changes at the location where we store our aviaries, we are in a hurry to find some volunteers to help us transport and set up the aviaries for our upcoming translocation at the end of March. We are planning to bring two pairs of Western Bluebirds over from Washington in two or three weeks and so we would like to pick a day between March 12-18 for the aviary set up. Please call me at (250) 889-1892 if you are interested in helping out.

Bring Back the Bluebirds is hiring!

While I am sad to say that Helen isn’t able to return as Bluebird Conservation Technician this year, I am happy to report that we will still get to see her as she is joining us as a volunteer trail monitor!
So, we are now looking for someone to fill the role of Bluebird Conservation Technician as the next field season approaches. Please feel free to share this posting with people you think may be interested. Anyone who would like to apply can go to the BCCF website: h to submit an application

Summary Report

Once the nest boxes are all cleaned and the data all entered, it is fascinating to take a moment to really look at how the season went. We try all kinds of methods to improve our nest box trails for local species and speculate on how things are going but until we can look at the data as a whole we don’t know. This year was a great example.

There is more detail in the Summary Report attached but I will give a brief synopsis. I will start with what we did know before data compilation. We had three of the Western Bluebirds from last year’s translocation return to Vancouver Island, two of them established territories in Cowichan Valley. Two new pairs were translocated from a healthy population in Washington. A total of 12 fledglings were raised over the season. What wasn’t clear until we looked at the numbers was that native species using the boxes doubled their number of successful nests this year! And there were half as many attempts by House Sparrows to take over boxes. No matter how many bluebirds we bring over, they will only be successful if their nesting habitat is safe so I find this news especially encouraging.

On the less encouraging side, an Avian Flu swept across North America this year, dashing our plans to bring more families of Western Bluebirds over for this season. It is lucky that the two pairs that did establish territories were so successful. There wasn’t a single mortality this season! We will continue to bring bluebirds over next year so that we can reach population numbers that are more resilient to the winds of chance.

Give a moment to look over the Summary Report if you are curious. It is time to wish our bluebirds safe travels and hope the winter treats them well.

Bluebird Surveys its home

End of Season

It is always such a bittersweet time when the field season ends. This year marks ten years of avian conservation for this project. As befits such a birthday, we celebrated in the sunshine on Friday with cake and special gifts to the volunteers that work so hard on recovering Western Bluebirds. One of our volunteers, Joan Richardson, generously shared a lovely watercolour and ink piece that she created using a photo of one of our bluebird fledglings. We made prints to share. My sister, Shelley McLeod-Garner, created a felt/quilt pillow for us to gift. Genevieve Singleton, a volunteer that has dedicated so many hours since the very beginning of the project, shared stories of how this initiative took root. My heart is warmed by the dedication and passion of this group of volunteers. So many thanks to all of you!