Nest Box Trail Results 2012
All trails did well in 2012 with the first Bluebird eggs observed in March and last Bluebird to fledge did so in early September. There was some issue with cold temps in April and then hot, hot in July. Much of our activity and members are in south and central Jersey (Atlantic, Burlington, Cape May, Cumberland, Glouster) but we also have trails and members in Monmouth, Morris and Union counties. Our trails are scattered over a wide area. I have two trails and the annual driving required for 20+ visits is about a thousand miles each with a lot of hiking as well. Some have only one or two boxes but that could be just as important to Bluebirds and in this state could be a large overall factor. The nest boxes appropriate for Bluebirds attract other cavity nesters and they are welcome however for this report our focus will be on the Eastern Bluebird. Quite a few people are directly involved and if I start listing all I’m sure to miss some so I’ll just leave this general. Of the Bluebird trails we are personally involved in the fledge count is just over 2,000 and that is in one of the most densely populated states. Many Chickadees, Titmouse, Tree Swallows as well as House Wrens fledged too. Some boxes remain empty and some nests are destroyed. This is duly noted and adjustments or relocating might be warranted. A clear cut area is great for a few years but as the trees continue to grow Bluebirds move elsewhere. They are extremely versatile though and all that is needed for duplication is a good nest box in a suitable area. Our thanks goes out to all who help in any way with this effort as well as those who provide access to nesting sites in their yards and on their property allowing us to tramp through checking boxes each week.
Two officers of the NJ Bluebird Society are registered bird banders (Allen Jackson and John Layton). Between them 1,296 Bluebird young were banded. This helps to keep a finger on the pulse of Bluebirds in NJ. Presently the population is doing very well.
There are so many ways success can be measured with this type of activity it’s difficult even to know where to begin. I do think for most of us a close association with nature and then simply seeing or hearing Bluebirds is all the thanks that is needed. Good luck to everyone this year, the new nesting season will soon be upon us.
Nels Anderson — 2011 Pinelands Bluebird Trail Report
The somewhat warm spring with no icy blasts or deep freezes helped launch this year’s Bluebird nesting season. The first nest start was found on April 9 and the first Bluebird egg on April 17. The first Bluebird fledged about May 16 and the last fledged on September 2 which clearly displays their extended nesting season. Of the 63 nest starts 46 fledged young. Although weather conditions were good in some areas of the woodlands Chickadee nests outnumbered the Bluebirds. Many times the poor Chickadee is ousted as a Bluebird or Tree Swallow will take over and build right on top of their nest, eggs and all. The gradual change in undergrowth and vegetation with shrubs becoming trees will favor one species or another which at times warrants a nest box be moved to a better location for Bluebirds. On the other hand an increase in nesting activity may require placing additional nest boxes however 100 yards is about as close as boxes can be and still attract Bluebirds in all of them. That new box must also be in suitable habitat so there are limitations.
Wasps continue to be a pest and several removals might be required before they get the idea. Birds will not nest in a box which has wasps, hornets etc. No single predator caused major problems this year although I suspect the two legged variety was responsible for eggs missing twice from the same box. A little Brown Bat took up residence and roosted in one box for a two week period and it was certainly welcome. White Bluebird eggs are uncommon yet one location has produced nothing but for two years now and the young are 100% Bluebird. Overall the local population is stable and the Eastern Bluebird is doing well in the Pinelands. As always, thanks to all who provide hospitality as well as nest box space making this Bluebird Trail possible and successful.
Nels Anderson — 2011 Nest Record for Franklin Parker Preserve
The nesting season at last draws to a close with only one active Bluebird nest containing
three young. For this year, the date for the first Bluebird egg at Franklin Parker Preserve is April 9 and
the last about August 1. That is a long nesting season and the warm weather is a big positive factor. The
first young fledged in mid-May and the last are ready to go any day now which will bring the total fledged
to 94 and a new record. Improvement is always good. The halfway point this year was June 30 with half fledging
before then and half after that. There were 60 nest boxes in place for most of the season and several species
made good use of them. There were some disappointments and "Oh Boys" but that is nature and to be expected.
The total results are listed below:
Bluebird nests 27
Bluebirds Fledged 94
Tree Swallow nests 31
Tree Swallows Fledged 125
Chickadees Fledged 20
Allen Jackson resides in Millville and covers a wide area of south Jersey with focus on Bluebirds as well as Purple Martins. He leads and manages a number of nest box trails in several counties. He has a long history of naturalist activities.
“I checked over my banding records and have totals for bluebirds banded under my permit for 2011. We banded 613 bluebirds in 5 counties (Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic, Salem, and Monmouth) at 38 sites. I do not have the number of boxes but it involved 6 people.”
John Layton monitors several trails and has constructed hundreds and hundreds of nest boxes including those in Brigantine and Batsto. He resides in Egg Harbor Township. John is a Master Carpenter.
Here are the results for the 2011 season (86 Boxes):
Eastern Bluebirds 150 Banded & Fledged
Tree Swallows 126 Fledged (97 at Forsythe N.W.R. Oceanville)
House Wrens 43 Fledged
Titmice 13 Fledged
Shelly Cucugliello has a small Nest Box Trail in her hometown of Pittsgrove with records going back to 1995. Some focus on the big trails but over the years Shelly’s efforts have fledged 269 Bluebird young.