The trees are budding, the temperature is rising, and it’s starting to feel like spring in the south! Here at BTNEP we are gearing up for nesting season! This year we’re introducing two new nest box projects focusing on the Eastern Bluebird and Prothonotary Warbler.
The Eastern Bluebird nest box trail is located in the New Roads area. We are working with the LSU Agricultural Extension Service, the Pointe Coupee Recreation Department, and landowners to identify and provide locations for bluebird nest box installation. Youth groups (Boy Scout Troop 66, 4H, and others) are helping to build, install, and monitor nest boxes. As of February of this year, we have 11 boxes installed (10 at the False River Park and 1 at the Memorial Cemetery). At the end of the nesting season, we will compile our monitoring data and submit it to the Cornell Ornithological Lab and the American Bluebird Society.
To facilitate project success, we are looking for “Bluebird Backers”. If you are in the New Roads area and would like to be a Bluebird Backer and your location is a suitable site for raising eastern bluebirds, BTNEP will supply and help install the nest box and you can enjoy watching one of the most beautiful North American songbirds go about their family business! Periodically throughout the spring and early summer, the BTNEP Program and the boy scout troop would monitor use of each Bluebird house. If you are interested in becoming a “Bluebird Backer”, contact Patti Holland at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Prothonotary Warbler nest box trail will begin in the Morgan City area with future plans to expand to several locations throughout our estuary. The Prothonotary Warbler is an iconic swamp and bottomland hardwood forest bird species that is included on the list of Birds of Conservation Concern (USFWS 2008). It is one of only two wood warbler species that nest in tree cavities and the availability of suitable nesting sites is a critical habitat requirement. The main goals of establishing a Prothonotary Warbler nest box monitoring program are to promote the conservation and awareness of the species, increase productivity and attempt to identify factors that limit population growth. The project aims to collaborate with organizations such as Audubon Louisiana and contribute to the Prothonotary Warbler Working Group’s conservation goals for the species.
In order to promote species awareness and stewardship, we recently visited with Boy Scout Troop 453 to inform them about the species and to have a nest box building workshop for Prothonotary Warblers! Thank you to our Boy Scout troops and others who’ve helped make our nest boxes! We would also like to thank Robichaux Lumber for donating the cypress wood for our nest boxes!
If you’re interested in becoming a citizen scientist and monitoring nest boxes in your own backyard, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology has created a nationwide citizen scientist program called Nest Watch! Visit nestwatch.org to learn what nest box suites your backyard habitat, learn about monitoring protocols, download datasheets, and enter your results into their online database.
Happy spring and happy birding!