2013 Bluebird Report

The 2013 Eastern Bluebird season was our fourth year of maintaining a nest box trail in the Simcoe County area.  The year started with tremendous promise of success despite the cool and damp spring weather.  We added an additional 10 nest boxes to a new trail, bringing our total number of nest boxes to 80.  



In early spring Maurice Gervais, a BFNC member allowed us to set up new nest boxes on his property near Barrie Hill Farms, northwest of Barrie.   Eastern Bluebirds have always nested in the area and for many years Mr. Gervais’ father has tended to nest boxes surrounding the farm.  We identified several areas that were suitable for additional boxes and Mr. Gervais enthusiastically supported the establishment of the newest BFNC trail.  The success of the Barrie Hill Farm trail was immediate; three of the new nest boxes produced 13 healthy fledglings.  New trails often take time to become established and attract Bluebirds so, based on this first year, we are looking for great success in the future at Barrie Hill Farms.




The first Bluebird sighting on the BFNC trail was April 23rd and the first Tree Swallow sighting was April 16th – very unusual as Bluebirds are normally present and nesting well before the arrival of Tree Swallows.  Bluebird nesting commenced a full month later than normal with the first nest observed on May 4th and the first egg laid on May 9th.  There were no second broods laid in 2013 – a direct result of the later start to the breeding season.   In 2013 we had a total of 10 pairs of Bluebirds.  13 nests were constructed, but only 10 nests were used for laying eggs.  The 10 nests produced 50 eggs of which 47 hatched.  All hatchlings successfully fledged – a great success rate.  Tree Swallows were active throughout the trail laying 122 eggs in 26 nest boxes. The success rate of Tree Swallows was not as high; from the 122 eggs, 98 hatched and only 84 successfully fledged.  It appears that cool, damp weather, predators and late nestings were a factor.



Overall it was a very successful Bluebird season.  We were surprised to realize that not only were we supplementing the Bluebirds with a mealworm diet, we were also feeding the resident Red Headed Woodpecker a tasty menu!   


We would like to extend our appreciation to the BFNC volunteers who assisted with monitoring and record-keeping throughout the season.