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Bluebird’s song welcomes back spring

JIM COLLIGAN PHOTO |  The eastern bluebird spotted at Shell Beach in January.

JIM COLLIGAN PHOTO |
The eastern bluebird spotted at Shell Beach in January.

One look at this handsome male bluebird and you will notice that he is wearing not one but, two kinds of bracelets.

The photo above was taken at Shell Beach in January during a search for the snowy owl. Yes, we learned a lot from this photo because the metal band carries a number that tells us where and when it was banded and the red band tells us, at a glance, that the bird was fledged this year at Mashomack Preserve here on Shelter Island.

The Eastern Bluebird Conservation program at Mashomack has done well over the years with 428 bluebirds having been fledged from many of the 52 nest boxes that comprise the “Nest Box Trail.” The monitoring season begins in late March and ends in early August. Many volunteers participate, sharing weekly trips throughout the Preserve and recording the nesting progress of both bluebirds and tree swallows. Besides aiding in a great conservation project, hands-on participation allows one to study birds from nest building, to egg laying, to nestling stage and then finally, fledging.

On Thursday, March 27 at the Mashomack Preserve’s Visitor/Education Center from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., we will discuss the natural history of the eastern bluebird and other cavity nesting birds and why it is necessary to provide nesting boxes for them.

Find out how the bluebirds made out during this winter’s weather.

You can become a volunteer and help the bluebird to continue its population recovery and perhaps you can encourage bluebirds to nest in boxes in your yard. Call 749-1001 and let us know you are coming.

DR. BILL ZITEK

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