Helping the Eastern Bluebirds
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The Young Naturalists 4-H Club learns about the environment and how to take care of it. In 2017 they built 15 bluebird boxes under the guidance of Joe Sanders, from the North Carolina Bluebird Society. Four of the boxes were placed in Jackson Park, and the rest were placed throughout Henderson County. Members of the Young Naturalists 4-H Club monitor the bluebird houses in Jackson Park, count the eggs and hatchlings, and help keep the boxes clean.
Nest box #1 – 4 babies
Nest box #2 – Nest, but no eggs
Nest box #3 – Has 1 baby that hasn’t fledged
Nest box #4 – Has a nest with 1 white egg on top of the bluebird nest. We think it is a tree swallow.
Nest box #1 – 4 eggs
Nest box #2 – No nest, no eggs
Nest box #3 – 5 eggs
Nest box #4 – The beginnings of a nest
Under normal circumstances, the Young Naturalists 4-H Club meets during the months of February through April to train for the state 4-H Wildlife Habitat Education Program (WHEP) competition. Volunteer Leader Ranae Worrell helps young people learn about different animals that are native to North Carolina, their foods and their habitats. Fortunately the Eastern Bluebird is one of the animals that is part of the WHEP competition. So the 4-H bluebird box project not only helps support the bluebird population in Henderson County, but also gives the 4-H’ers a hands-on opportunity to use what they learned. Below are some photographs provided by 4-H club members.
Ranae Worrell offers this advice for people choosing a location for a bluebird house, “You want to have it close to some shrubs so that the fledging babies can have some cover when they are leaving the nest. You also want a larger tree nearby as well so that the Daddy has a place to rest as he guards the box. The last thing needed is an open field so that both Mama and Daddy can find food sources for the babies.”