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Click to go to Audubon Society of Omaha Home Page Audubon Society of OmahaEastern Bluebird

Welcome to The Bluebird Box since 1995
Best of Bluebird Mailing Lists Classified

Bluebird Education & Presentation (Part 5)


Subject: House Sparrows in the "Comic Section"
Date: Sun, 13 Mar 2005 09:21:00 -0600
From: Keith & Sandy Kridler <txbluebirder"at"sbcglobal.net>

Keith Kridler Mt. Pleasant, Texas
Paula's post, Re: ever sent flyers to neighbors re BB's?
This is a really great way to offer to help someone with a House Sparrow
problem. Most people realize after a while that House Sparrows are a problem
but few know how to go about controlling the problem.

Harry Krueger in Ore City Texas was doing an 8 year color banding project
with Eastern Bluebirds on nest site fidelity and mate fidelity. he trapped
each pair of bluebirds in 60 nestboxes in parts of three Texas counties
EVERY TIME they hatched out young!

It seemed the more bluebirds he raised and the more publicity this "Bluebird
man" generated the more people who put up nestboxes in amongst his original
nestboxes and the more problems this created for his research! He sometimes
asked people to please REMOVE a nestbox to limit the bluebirds to his
"research" nestboxes, usually they told him NO! Some would understand and
remove the nestboxes. Over 8 years more and more new "weekend" cabins were
being built.

In my area and near Harry there are HUGE manmade lakes built to provide
water for the folks 140 miles west of us. On the weekends these same people
who drink our clear East Texas water from the Dallas-Fort Worth area "flock"
to the Lake Of the Pines where Harry lived 45 miles from Sandy and I. They
enjoy a weekend in their "Country houses" then fly back to Dallas to work
for another week.

Anyway these weekend country folks place all these "Bird houses" up and they
sometimes got House Sparrows. One fine Dallas gentleman put up a WHOLE yard
full of Purple Martin houses at his brand new cabin.

Harry repeatedly pulled out House Sparrow nests from his research nestbox
one spring located at the end of the man's driveway. The same banded pair of
bluebirds from the year before were getting desperate to lay eggs one
spring. Harry waited until early dawn on Monday morning and arrived when the
weekend homeowners would have "flown back" to Dallas. Sure enough the Male
House Sparrow was sitting on Harry's nestbox just across the road from the
weekend cabin....

Harry parked the car right in the middle of the road and poked the barrel of
his twelve gauge shotgun out the window, carefully squeezed the trigger and
the sparrow flew across the road just before getting blown to
smithereens...It flew directly to a really fancy Purple Martin House so
Harry never took his eyes off of his prey and backed up a little and eased
the car up the man's driveway and parked up right in front of the cabin's
steps and Harry BLASTED the offending sparrow right out the passenger window
of his car. Feathers flew EVERY WHERE and a split second after the blast
there was a deafening crash right behind Harry on the porch of the house.

Harry jerked around and was HORRIFIED to see a TERRIFIED creature sprawled
out on the porch just a few feet from his car window. A MAN was prostrate on
the porch all tangled up in a chair laying there with newspapers strewn
around, speckled with drops of spilled coffee. This "creature" appeared to
be frozen with eye glasses hanging on quivering lips, desperately trying to
hide under the section of the paper called "Comic's" when all of a sudden to
lend even more suspense to the picture tiny feathers began to float around
both men frozen in time. As coffee slowly ran down the gray painted porch,
finally the feathers broke the spell and Harry said the first thing that
came to his mind.

I TOLD YOU to get rid of those %&#"at"%(* HOUSE SPARROWS! Incredibly the man
AGREED with HARRY! IT was YES SIR! NO SIR! NO problem about the pellet
riddled Martin House......Of course then Harry realized that when he turned
around in the car the single shot shotgun barrel was now sticking out the
DRIVERS window....

They actually talked for about and hour and worked out what could have been
a real DISASTER.....Harry laughed about this MUCH later and said you know,
when this story got around this tiny lakeside community a LOT of "cute
birdhouses" normally filled with House Sparrows just disappeared! When Harry
asked folks to "Please remove" that nestbox most people DID!

Every time you "educate" your neighbors about birds, bees or plants you
improve the world just a little bit. Try to make a positive, lasting
impression on your neighbors but leave the shotgun at home:-)))

Oh how I miss some of the "Old Gang" of bluebirders! KK



From: Christy [mailto:ke4fej1"at"email.msn.com]
Sent: Friday, May 13, 2005 10:10 PM
Subject: BB on TV

Hi All, Just wanted to share. I told you that they had me on a television spot for Bluebirds. Well, after she looked at my web site and talking with me, she decided that the TV station could put the Bright Spots of the Suncoast on their Internet so people can look at them.

Here is the address: http://www.wwsb.tv

You can go to this address and then on the Left in the gray toward the bottom look for BRIGHTSPOT and click on it. The click on Christy Packard

I don't have a new enough computer to see it at all...and at work I can see it but I can't hear it.

But if anyone would like to try and take a peek you can see what Channel 7 ABC put on the air. The New York Bluebird Society's Marsha is in the first pic..with some of the BB boxes they gave to me last year.

Christy



From: Keith & Sandy Kridler [mailto:txbluebirder"at"sbcglobal.net]
Sent: Sunday, May 15, 2005 8:11 AM
Subject: Re: BB on TV

Good Morning there Christy!

That was a great Bright Blue Spot they did about you and your project.
There is no telling how many people those pictures will touch in the area and around the country. It will inspire people you will never meet to make and install their first nestbox. It should inspire those with nestboxes up that they can look inside and possibly even touch a baby bird or show it to their children. I am soooo proud of the work you are doing and the number of people you are sharing your love of these birds with.

We reach out and touch someone and share the Peace and Joy of the bluebirds, they in turn reach out and touch their family and friends to share the joy!
Then someday, someone taps you on the shoulder and completes the circle of mutual bluebird friends returning the joy ten fold..... We create circles of bluebird friends inside of circles, outside of our circles and sometimes all intertwined....Kind of like one big happy bluebird nest with each piece of straw needed to complete the nest.

There will be a BIG migration of Bluebird Friends all heading to the North American Bluebird Society meeting in Ashville, N.C. this coming week. I hope to see lots of new faces along with the "old-timers" at this meeting. NABS has a good "nest" but it is time to make it far larger and stronger! Keith Kridler



From: Christy [mailto:ke4fej1"at"email.msn.com]
Sent: Sunday, May 15, 2005 8:40 AM
Subject: Re: BB on TV

Hi Keith, and All...

Thanks for all the replies to watching the Bright Spot. I am so glad that you are able to view it. Yes, it was really good of them to put this spot on. But if you notice there is that one flaw in their presentation. They had asked me for 12 photos and I sent 4-H to groups to Monitors and builders and boxes. But what I think they should have used is that we had a fantastic picture of a Bluebird. ...it is one that Leah in N FL had
taken...and by the way I have not herard from Leah this year. But they
never showed WHAT a Bluebird is...and down here most people thought I was helping Blue Jays...we have Scrub Jays in my area... so if any know what
that is they might have thought that. If only they had shown the male
Bluebird I know it would have grabbed peoples attention more...because if they only knew what they could have here!!!!!

Oh well, in the future. I am hoping to see if I can't get on a local nature show here...and then there is my dream to have a show with Jack Hanna...he is right up in Tampa...so people can see the BBs then...

It could happen!

Christy



From: Evelyn Cooper [mailto:emcooper"at"bayou.com]
Sent: Sunday, May 15, 2005 9:10 AM
Subject: RE: BB on TV

The paper that did Kenny's article did use the most beautiful shot of a bluebird as the predominate picture sitting on the barbed wire on the Kleinpeter Dairy Farm Bluebird Trail. There were two other smaller shots of Kenny and one was of him monitoring the nestbox on a barbed wire fence. (It was pretty good size) Then, on the second page, they used the picture of Kenny's first bluebird nest in his yard that is on our website. It has the encapsulated egg. The article was beautifully written and we could not have asked for more. We gained a good number of LBBS members as a result of it.
It certainly helped us spread the word. The newspapers in our state do a fantastic job!

Evelyn Cooper
Delhi, LA
Louisiana Bayou Bluebird Society



From: Bet Zimmerman [mailto:ezdz"at"charter.net]
Sent: Wednesday, July 27, 2005 11:11 AM
Subject: Bluebirding Blues - the downside

[Note from webmaster: See http://www.sialis.org/downside.htm for most up to date version]

Getting involved in bluebird conservation is challenging and incredibly rewarding. But there is a down side. Nobody warns you that despite all the joy, there is bound to be some heartache. It can also get expensive and time consuming.

You wait and wait for nesting season to start, searching the skies for that flash of blue. Maybe you get no bluebirds at all - one trail monitor waited 13 years before a successful bluebird nesting. Or bluebirds do check out your boxes, and then decide to nest elsewhere. They start a nest and abandon it for some unfathomable reason. A pair lays a nest full of lovely blue pearls, and not one hatches.

Although your first attempts are filled with anticipation, like all those who came before, you will make mistakes. You don't know about the resources and experienced bluebirders out there who already learned things the hard way and are eager to help you.

Clueless, you put out that first box. Maybe you nail it to a tree or don't put a baffle on and inadvertently provide a meal to a marauding raccoon.

Responsible bluebird landlords monitor nestboxes. But one bird builds their nest right up against the slanted door of a Peterson box, and when you open the door, every egg tumbles to the ground and breaks before your unbelieving eyes.

You open a box eagerly expecting to see gaping nestlings. Instead you find corpses, the victims of a house sparrow attack or a spate of nasty weather. Or you experience the horrible surprise of a coiled snake resting where eggs or nestlings used to be.

You try to trap house sparrows to protect the native birds you offer homes to, and end up with collateral damage when a non-target bird dies in the trap.

You feel helpless panic when confronted with a difficult situation where there may not be a "right" thing to do.

And then there are the sleepless nights. You worry whether the babies of a widowed parent will get enough food, whether a premature fledgling will be eaten by the cat your neighbor allows to roam free, or if the young ones will survive their first cold and rainy night out of the box. You blubber like an idiot when the last little runt finally makes it to the safety of the trees.

A vandal tears down a box or even shoots off a round into it. You are sickened by what people are capable of.

The more you care, the more it hurts when something goes wrong. That sad feeling of loss is painful. As Keith Kridler said, "I will guarantee that there is not a bluebirder ... that has not shed a tear or two either for the joy these birds bring or the heartache we occasionally feel depending on what we find or learn about these birds over the course of our lives! It hurts just as much to lose that first nest as it will the last nest, only you feel more guilty the longer you put up nestboxes because we "believe" we have learned enough to be able to prevent ALL losses!"

It can even make you physically ill. More than one bluebirder has contracted Lyme disease.

Bluebirding is a commitment. If you have a large trail, you can spend hours checking boxes and recording and reporting data. Even when it's hot and humid, the bugs are after your blood, the grass is over your head, and other responsibilities beckon, you still need to get out there and monitor regularly.

It can get expensive too - nestboxes, mounting hardware, baffles, traps and mealworms and feeders all add up.

Some family and friends will tire of mealworms in the refrigerator and the seemingly endless bluebird blather. Strangers may wonder whether you are a some kind of obsessed fanatic.

You will literally experience the void left by "empty nest syndrome." The babies you have watched over are gone, nesting season ends, and you have to wait a whole year for the cycle to begin anew.

So in the end, is it worth it? ABSOLUTELY. You will experience unique excitement and intense happiness, learn much, and find wonderful new friends. And despite the mistakes, cost, time and inevitable tragedy, you will know that because of you, there is one more bird out there.

Bet from CT


From: RBALTRUNAS"at"cs.com [mailto:RBALTRUNAS"at"cs.com]
Sent: Wednesday, July 27, 2005 11:34 AM
Subject: Re: Bluebirding Blues - the downside

In a Message dated 7/27/05 8:13:04 AM Pacific Daylight Time, ezdz"at"charter.net writes:

because of you, there is one more bird out there.

That sums it all up. Time will pass and we will get older no matter what. There are so many ways to burn time. The glorious way to spend it is to add plants and wildlife that will have ripple effects far beyond our lives. We expand our consiouness beyond what Thoreau called "lives of quiet desperation" and above meaningless consumption.

Ron
Brooksville, FL



From: JOHN & BARBARA SIBIO [mailto:jsibio"at"comcast.net]
Sent: Wednesday, July 27, 2005 1:11 PM
Subject: Bluebirding Blues - the downside

Looks like I'm not going to have a third nesting, for the first time in a dozen years, and it's a bummer. At least I'm now seeing the blues around the area, since the heat has let up some. I think that terrible, triple-digit hot spell influenced the nesting cycle. I went for days without seeing or hearing any birds. Now they have returned to my feeders and bird baths, but I miss the babies.

I've had my sleepless nights and also shed tears over dead birds more than once, but I wouldn't trade the good experiences for anything. I've also brought other people into the hobby/avocation of birding, and it has been very rewarding. The most rewarding part has been sharing it with children and grandchildren, and I hope they will continue to love birds for a long time.

I can't wait for next season!

Barbara from Cloverdale, CT


From: Shawn [mailto:shawnee4"at"charter.net]
Sent: Wednesday, July 27, 2005 6:46 PM
Subject: Re: Bluebirding Blues - the downside

A beautiful pat on the back for all of us on the list!

Thank you!

Shawn in Sevierville, TN



From: Bet Zimmerman [mailto:ezdz"at"charter.net]
Sent: Thursday, July 28, 2005 9:16 AM
Subject: RE: Bluebirding Blues - the downside

I hear you - I didn't even get second broods this year from most pairs!

Gina McCarthy, the new commissioner of the CT Dept. of Environmental Protection is starting a wonderful new campaign - "No child left inside." DEP is concerned that kids are growing up pasted to a TV or video game and will not experience and learn to appreciate nature, or be willing to invest effort or funding environmental protection as adults. Showing them what happens in a nestbox (good and bad if they are old enough to handle it) is a great way to get them interested in wildlife and the ecosystem.

Bet from CT



From: Keith & Sandy Kridler [mailto:txbluebirder"at"sbcglobal.net]
Sent: Saturday, September 10, 2005 9:28 AM
Subject: educating people about birds

Keith Kridler Mt. Pleasant, Texas
Teaching someone about birds is as simple as talking to your neighbor or chatting with a co-worker while on a coffee break. It can be as impersonal as simply forwarding an interesting e-mail on birds to the members of your "joke" list.

Bluebirding is one of those hobbies that many get started in when they hang up a nestbox, then forget about it until the next day or the next decade when they see a "blue" bird begin to inspect the piece of yard ornamentation. Most of the time the reaction is simply satisfaction that a "blue" bird is actually looking at the nestbox. MOST of the time the new landlords are satisfied with simply cleaning out the nestbox once a year now that they are an official "Bluebirder":-))

Normally it takes time for them to get curious enough about the birds to start looking inside the nestboxes and then it takes even longer for them to begin to keep written records. This is the key because when they begin to write down what they see each time then they can compare these notes to see if they are helping the birds to be successful and if not then they can begin to make changes that allow the birds to fledge more young with less losses.

I gave a talk to a group of retired agriculture extension office women this past week. There were 18 attending the meeting including a few guests. 16 of them had up nestboxes. 14 had bluebirds nesting in their boxes this past year. 6 had flying squirrels in their nestboxes during the past two years.
Most of them had chickadees, titmice or other birds nesting the past couple of years. Most had Carolina Wrens nesting somewhere around their house or in their garage. Several had Barn Swallows or Phoebes building up under their porches. None had Purple Martins.

There were only a couple that wrote down on their calendar the nesting success of their nestboxes. One kept a journal from year to year. Half of them cleaned out the boxes at the end of the nesting season. Half of them cleaned out after the young fledged. Nearly all of them had five or more nestboxes on their property so that the birds could choose a "clean" box after fledging young. These ladies came from a wide area to this monthly meeting with one driving over 50 miles.

Share a fun bird story with someone you know this week. KK



From: Keith & Sandy Kridler [mailto:txbluebirder"at"sbcglobal.net]
Sent: Monday, October 03, 2005 8:56 AM
Subject: building nestboxes

Keith Kridler Mt. Pleasant, Texas
Our Master Gardener group worked a booth at our county fair and I picked up a few more volunteers for cutting nestboxes out and helping to build nestboxes for the children. We let children nail together about 80 more boxes on Saturday. One child was a little over 50 years old.

I was surprised but nestboxes were going home to Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana and 8 were going to areas of the Texas Gulf Coast as soon as they get power restored. A "local" county fair can draw in bluebirders from distant states! All it takes to pull them out of the crowd is a child with a hammer making a LOT of noise beating on a nestbox.

High lights of the nestbox building: Everything at the fair seems to cost a lot of money and the Master Gardeners give all kinds of stuff away from pumpkins to flower seeds, flower bulbs and of course nestboxes.

One boy comes up and says, "All I have left is a dime! How much does a bluebird house cost to build?"

One boy completed his nestbox and proclaimed this was better than the one he built last year at the fair and he would NOW put up the old nestbox and put this one on the shelf in his room!

A man stopped at the booth and said, "You won't remember me but in 1988 you helped me with my Eagle Scout project." Kevin Rose's 50 nestbox bluebird trail installed spring of '88 at Lake Bob Sandlin State Park is the oldest Eagle Scout project in the county still being maintained. He installed wood duck nestboxes at the park later.

One lady brought her daughter and when the young girl had finally finished her nestbox she told me that I had helped her build her first nestbox about 20 years ago.

We had parents telling their children while they hammered all about bluebirds and how to control House Sparrows. Most of the children had already built a bluebird nestbox before. Some had constructed Home Depot nestboxes.

We had a five year old girl who would put most carpenters to shame as she could drive a nail with four hits instead of 50 or 60 for most boys and girls. Her 7 year old sister was just as good and their Aunt taught them how to hammer while building nestboxes! They hope to get power restored in the next couple of weeks and return home to start cleaning up after Rita.

We had one boy actually stop and teach one of the Master Gardeners how to build this style nestbox. We had a carpenter stop and help while we were too busy teaching youngsters which end of the hammer to hit the nails with!
Nearly every child building a nestbox would draw a crowd. People would stand around talking about their bluebirds.

We had parents help their children when the child could no longer lift the
16 OZ. hammer for one more blow.

We had two sisters rush up and ask to build nestboxes! They had just left home and had 12 bluebirds sitting on the nestboxes they built and placed in May. They raised bluebirds in both boxes this past summer. They wanted some more boxes for "their" bluebirds. KK



From: Keith & Sandy Kridler [mailto:txbluebirder"at"sbcglobal.net]
Sent: Monday, October 31, 2005 7:12 AM
Subject: Helping Bluebirds the girl scout kind

Keith Kridler Mt. Pleasant, Texas
I got a call last week from a scout leader who saw me working with the Texas Master Gardeners letting children build nestboxes at the county fair. She asked if I would come and help their troop build nestboxes for a project.

I got there and the girls were really too young to swing a hammer! Only one had ever handled a hammer in her whole life! I had to guide the hammer and teach them how to drive the first nail or two, then let them bang away for a while and then help them finish setting the nail head flush with the wood.
When I help guide the hammer I make an issue of them providing the power as I am only going to use two fingers to lightly guide the direction and even allow them to miss the nail if they start swinging wildly.

We used 12 eight penny threaded nails per nestbox, not the easiest nail for a young child to drive but EVERY girl was able to drive the last four nails on their own! (Some took a lot longer than others:-)) I start the nail until it sticks in the board below and since they were small children I sat on the floor while they hammered away while on their knee's. We use a 16 OZ. curved claw hammer.

We had six girls and three adults to start with and ended up with 7 adults watching the slide program. We started at 3:30 and went to 5:30. The girls got to pull the trigger on the cordless drill while I grasped the motor housing and drilled the hole for the duplex nail to latch the door.

After completing their nestbox I gave each child a miniature pumpkin and they used a sharpie pen to draw Halloween faces on their pumpkin while the next child hammered on the next box. When we were done building nestboxes I took a ripe gourd and turned it into a nestbox in a few seconds with a hole saw and 1/4" drill bit and the girls voted on which one should get this gourd birdhouse prize for building their nestboxes. Then each girl got an undrilled birdhouse gourd to clean and paint at the next meeting. They voted on painting the gourds to look like snowmen.

They got written instructions on how to care for the nestbox (NABS), blue prints to build another nestbox from Texas Bluebird Society. How and when to plant their gourd seeds. I let the slide program degenerate a little and during the program while visiting with the adults I allowed the girls to use their hands in the light and they had birds flying across the bottom of the screen while they were shouting out the names of the different birds and animals that are cavity nesters in our area that I happened to have pictures of. Hey this is supposed to be a FUN hobby and two hours is too long for young children to go without a little laughter!

I gave a cavity nester program to the Tyler Master Gardeners last year and it inspired one of their members to build a LOT of nestboxes and they sold really good nestboxes for one of their fund raisers this past spring. They included our bluebird information sheets with every nestbox sold. If you cannot cut out nestbox parts see if your local newspaper won't do an article on the shortage of nest boxes in your area and see if a local contractor won't donate material and help cut out parts. There is no shortage of local children who need the positive experience of being able to "Build their own House".

What they learn in an hour might just last them a lifetime! KK



From: Bruce Johnson [mailto:andyroooney"at"yahoo.com]
Sent: Friday, November 04, 2005 9:40 PM
Subject: Speaking opportunities..... don't turn them down

Hello all -

I was recently invited to speak to our local camera club on my back yard wildlife habitat and bird photography, both
leave a lot to be desired.

The scheduled speaker for the month could not be there so they moved my slot up a month with only three days notice.

In the past we have had speakers with slide shows of charging lions and many other impressive subjects, but never anyone speaking on birds and how they photograph them. I had no idea of how the presentation would be received.

During the presentation a lot of questions were asked from the floor and at the end, to my surprise, they gave me a standing ovation, one of the few I have witnessed from this group.

The president of the club sent me a letter thanking me for sharing with the club and saying it was one of the best presentations ever given to the group.

Bewildered and surprised, was my initial reaction. I finally came to the conclusion for the groups warm reaction, they love birds and although they don't interact with them as much as most of us do, the presentation really struck a receptive spot.

I hope you understand my reason for sharing this with you, it is in hope that when you have an opportunity to share your enthusiasm and concern for our feathered friends, you will take advantage of it. You will be pleasantly surprised.

Warmest regards,

Bruce Johnson
Germantown (Memphis)TN
Life Mbr. NABS



From: Kenny Kleinpeter [mailto:kpkmajk"at"cox.net]
Sent: Saturday, November 05, 2005 12:41 AM
Subject: RE: Speaking opportunities..... don't turn them down

Bruce, good job! I have one of those big speaking things next week. I get a little nervous until I remember that it's "for the birds." I work hard managing three trails (200 boxes), 17 purple martin boxes (300 compartments) and 15 wood duck boxes but the number of birds I help pales in comparison to the number of birds that will be helped by sharing data, techniques and the sheer joy with a hundred other people. That's saving birds! :-)

Kenny Kleinpeter
Baton Rouge, LA



From: Cher [mailto:bluelist"at"localnet.com]
Sent: Thursday, November 10, 2005 10:34 AM
Subject: Presentations - has anyone tried this?

We have a Bass Pro Shop here in Cayuga County. It's a huge "outdoors"
store with lots of floor space, tons of areas that would be perfect for holding a Bluebird presentation, and foot traffic like you would not believe. Has anyone ever tried approaching a store like this to suggest sponsoring a workshop on Bluebirds? I have yet to do my first presentation, but I'm thinking this might be a good location, and wonder how you would broach the subject with the manager?
Cher



From: Bruce Burdett [mailto:blueburd"at"verizon.net]
Sent: Thursday, November 10, 2005 10:10 AM
Subject: Re: On target, once more

Keith,
Your message about the Girl Scout Crisis rang several bells with me.
One such bell was your mention of Bluejays.
I'm always astonished each time I'm reminded how many people think that Bluejays and Bluebirds are the same thing. Even when you tell them, and try to explain, some people look at you skeptically and don't really believe you. (Some others, of course, don't really care.)
I also liked your reference to the Inspiration Effect that our efforts can have on children. We can never know just how many - what percentage - will be inspired, but if one out of ten goes ahead and does something concrete and lasting, then it will have been worth our time and input. So many things in our modern life pull people *away* from nature and the natural world that many folks grow up with no knowledge about nature whatever, - zero. They know all about cell phones and I-pods and computers, but nothing at all about the world they live in.
Henry Thoreau spoke of "the improved means to the unimproved end." Thoreau looks more and more like a prophet as those "ends" become more and more shallow and profit-oriented.
So thanks once more, Keith, for putting all your shots in the black.

Bruce Burdett



From: Keith & Sandy Kridler [mailto:txbluebirder"at"sbcglobal.net]
Sent: Friday, January 20, 2006 1:44 PM
Subject: young kids and birds

Keith Kridler Mt. Pleasant, Texas
I got a call Wednesday morning begging me to come to a school and give a talk on birds to 5 and 6 years olds, three classes that were learning about birds. I went at noon and quickly learned that the usual teaching session showing slides of various cavity nesters had to be adapted to entertain, keep their attention and teach them a few basics when you have 50 kids thrown in a dark room.

Huge success is the display of real bird nests with real eggs of six different cavity nesters for these kids.

They oooohhhh and aaaaahhhhh over bird species. They OOOOOOwwwllll on slides of owls. They EEEEWWWWWWW on slides of snakes. They like squirrels. They love flying squirrels. They had not thought about raccoons eating birds or eggs or being able to reach into a bird house. They laugh about cats looking into nestboxes.

More than half of the kids already had up nestboxes. If they were good and asked a good question I had 7 gourds to give to their classes to convert into painted birdhouses.

Most kids wanted to tell THEIR story about birds or wildlife and NOT ask a question.

Best Questions:WHO named the bluebird a bluebird? Why did they not call it an Orange Belly bird? Why don't birds like me? All I want to do is pet them!
Why are baby birds ugly? WHY is the daddy bird prettier than the Mama bird?
Are chickens really birds?

We as adults tend to worry more about things affecting birds which we have no control over but there are a lot of kids out there just waiting to get excited about ANY bird! KK


From: KCBSP"at"aol.com [mailto:KCBSP"at"aol.com]
Sent: Tuesday, February 07, 2006 11:10 AM
Subject: Bluebirds on Animal Planet today--two shows

If you just happen to be online and see this, the bluebirds are on this show right now!!
It came on at 11 a.m. and will be shown again at 3 p.m.

One of BSP's Coordinators, Jane Kirkland, is to pop in sooner or later.

Later,

Kathy Clark,
New Cumberland, PA

http://animal.discovery.com/tvlistings/episode.jsp?episode
=24&cpi=112196&gid=14031&clik=animalWhatson&channel=APL



From: Sheila Rogers [mailto:sheilarogers"at"charter.net]
Sent: Tuesday, February 07, 2006 11:34 PM
Subject: Blues everywhere:)

...I watched " Animal Planet" about the blues and the red foxes. I was surprised that he mentioned " Dried Meal worms" Blues don't like DEAD things to eat. Also surprised to see the meal worm feeder, it was made of wood, MW love to cling to the wood and escape:( ( been there done that) I had to put " J" molding in the feeder, they pulled it off and the MW escaped...hanging everywhere on the feeder....

Anyway, my critique of the show:)

Sheila
Redding, CA



rom: Keith & Sandy Kridler [mailto:txbluebirder"at"sbcglobal.net]
Sent: Monday, February 27, 2006 9:30 AM
Subject: Re: Getting more people involved

Keith Kridler Mt. Pleasant, Texas
Nestboxes are the second most important aspect of bluebirding. People of course come first.

I have been asking at programs "Who builds their own nestboxes?" for quite some time now and there are getting to be fewer and fewer nestbox builders. Where did all of the table saws go that have been sold over the years?

We also take wood nestbox kits to programs especially for kids to let them hammer together their own nestboxes. The box needs to be so simple an eight year old child cannot screw it up. Fancy angles are horrible because they can be reversed. Even wide overhanging roofs end up all the way over protecting only two sides instead of all four.

....


From: Jimmy Dodson [mailto:rocks_and_flies"at"hotmail.com]
Sent: Monday, February 27, 2006 1:14 PM
Subject: Re: Getting more people involved

...I agree that people rank first as a "commodity" when it comes to nestbox monitoring.

I think that one of the largest factors for nestbox production is how "busy"
people's lives have gotten. If you really stop and ask people now about something such as what are their hobbies, many don't really have any, or if they do, most I know tend to revolve around just travelling and being tourists -- what I like to call "sitting on the couch".

I have dozens of design plans for various nestboxes from a variety of sources. I build some for our uses on College properties now and again, but lately I've been deferring to the campus wildlife club -- they build boxes to raise money for their activities and wildlife projects. I get them the plans they need and lists of supplies, and help during the initial efforts then let them do it. They have enjoyed learning about it -- it gives us a chance to talk about cavity nesters and the biology while we work -- and it gives me the chance to support the efforts of the club. It takes time, which I think is the main reason many folks don't do it much -- they don't feel like they have the time. Like you pointed out, many designs are actually fairly simple.

I realize that this forum of people are, for lack of a better term, the choir. But i would urge everyone to take at least 1 or 2 days each year and teach a group how to build boxes. Be it a Girl Scout, Boy Scout, school group, or adults, the educational benefits and joy garnered pay big dividends. And... it makes a good start for "recruiting" monitors for your own trails or new ones.

Take care --J



From: emcooper"at"bayou.com [mailto:emcooper"at"bayou.com]
Sent: Monday, February 27, 2006 2:12 PM
Subject: Re: Getting more people involved

The main objective is "getting more people involved". Well, I can say from my experiences that just the basics that we teach makes a lot people look at me like I am a "little bit off" sometimes. For some, it takes about two years before they realize they have to clean out the box, or even put it a better place. For some, it takes longer.

For those of us that have been at it longer, all this might interest some.
However, for a class of beginners or even some who have been at it longer, I think simpler is better.

I think we need to be realistic if we are talking about a class of about 25 to 40 people or so of beginners.

You cannot believe some of the messes at the workshops we've had to undo and help them redo. Sometimes, it is hilarious.

If I can provide dry, clean boxes that I hope to keep cooler in the heat and warmer in the cool times with keeping it simple, I think that is best.

Just my opinion.

Evelyn Cooper, President
Delhi, LA
Louisiana Bayou Bluebird Society



From: Bruce Burdett [mailto:blueburd"at"verizon.net]
Sent: Monday, February 27, 2006 3:40 PM
Subject: Re: Time and Effort, Bluebird-wise

Evelyn,
You and Jimmy Dodson are both right. I'm amazed, again and again, at how many people do nothing the least bit constructive or imaginative with their spare time. They travel here and there and gawk at things, they stare at the box for hours, they watch spectator sports, they sit on the beach, they go to bars. We've all seen people in waiting rooms, let's say at the dentist's, who sit and stare at the wall until their names are called. Why don't they just pick up an old magazine? I know many, many men who are utterly un-handy. They can't do even the simplest carpentry tasks, and they own no tools.
Of course, many people, including many men, have jobs which require that they sit all day at a desk and talk on the phone or, nowadays, fiddle with a computer. Can that be good for a person, year after year?
I've tried to run workshops where people learn to make Bluebird houses, and the results were a real education for me. Many people can't even hammer a nail. And then when you get to the matter of regular monitoring, house cleaning, correct location, predator control, dead birds, House Sparrows, blowflies, wasps, etc. they look at you as though were from the moon.
We Bluebirders have to get used to the fact that
*most* people have zero interest in birds of any kind, and least of all Bluebirds in particular. And of those people who show some interest in Bluebirds, very few are willing to invest much of their time and effort. And as we Bluebirders know all to well, a half-hearted effort is probably more harmful than no effort at all.

Bruce Burdett SW NH


From: rob barron [mailto:rebel1956"at"comcast.net]
Sent: Monday, February 27, 2006 5:27 PM
Subject: Trails, home plots, couch potatoes and hammers

Hi group,

Maybe my idea of a “contest” was stupid. I would definitely limit entrance to NABS members and sponsors, and it would not have “ornamental” among the entrance categories. I have nothing against bluebird trails. But as Keith, Bruce, Evelyn, Jimmy and others mentioned, it’s the monitors who matter more than the type of nest box. There are trails north to south and east to west across New York State, but in many places they are fallen down house sparrow nests. I thought if we could get the average home owner interested in having beautiful blue birds come around their yard, it might be an opportunity to also educate people about invasive species, cavity nesters etc. Not many people have enough land for a trail, but most people have a back yard or park that they go to.

I’ll never forget the first formal presentation I saw given about Bluebirds by Kevin Berner and the overwhelming response to a Parade magazine article in the Sunday papers that had the NABS (if it was even in existence then, but some phone number was listed) answering machines overloaded. I guess I still have a little faith in humanity and think we could generate some interest and publicity and maybe a NY Times article covering some of the dedicated people in this great group who are spending their time and money for a great cause. Maybe a nest box contest isn’t the way to go, and I totally agree with Jimmy and others that volunteering is a great way to get the message out.

I’ve been doing work for a landscaping company and I hear bluebirds singing at almost every site I go to early in the morning. I’ve offered to install free bluebird houses at every project, and I haven’t had a single person take me up on my offer yet. It’s really discouraging. Almost every site has a rotted out, empty bird feeder with a wasp nest in it. It just seems like we need to find a way to make bluebirds “cool”. Who wouldn’t like them if they had a nesting pair in their back yard? I guess there are some people who just wouldn’t notice, but they are past hoping for.

Rob Barron-Woodstock, Georgia



From: mrtony8 [mailto:philip.berry"at"mchsi.com]
Sent: Tuesday, February 28, 2006 5:59 AM
Subject: Re: Getting more people involved

think elementary and middle schools. the future is with the kids. we also do day long seminars to cub/boy scouts, keeping the presentation down to about 30-40 minutes per session. their attention span won't allow any longer time.
we also speak to garden clubs. women love the boxes and i offer to put them up for them. by the time we are through they KNOW they are responsible for that box.
Phil Berry



From: Keith & Sandy Kridler [mailto:txbluebirder"at"sbcglobal.net]
Sent: Tuesday, February 28, 2006 7:33 AM
Subject: Re: Getting more people involved

I agree that the schools are one of the main places to share your knowledge about the birds. Fifth grade for me works about the best and nestboxes, heat and ecology fit in well with this grade level of science classes.

I am teaching a class tonight on how to build nestboxes using a nailgun that shoots in 2">2&1/2" long galvanized finish nails. We preach gun safety and they will get to keep a nestbox. This will be for a Texas Master Gardener class. These new generation of nail guns shoot nail lengths from 1&1/4" to 2&1/2" long nails. They use very few cubic inches of air and are quiet enough that you do not need ear protection. Eye protection is a must have item. Recoil on these light guns is almost non existant. Anyway the faster you can build these nestboxes the more likely you are to get people to make some. KK


From: Lynneridgeway"at"aol.com [mailto:Lynneridgeway"at"aol.com]
Sent: Tuesday, February 28, 2006 2:20 PM
Subject: Fwd: Trails, home plots, couch potatoes and hammers

I am responding to the following comment which appeared in the first paragraph of the above noted email:

There are trails north to south and east to west across New York State, but in many places they are fallen down house sparrow nests.

Specifically the two major trails being referred to are our Route 11 and Route 20 trails which cover hundreds of miles N/S and E/W in NYS.

The Executive Monitor (if you will) has done an exemplary job of managing the Rt. 11
trail. He has been very diligent in maintaining a full cadre of monitors (thank you, volunteers), collecting and reporting nesting results, replacing damaged nest boxes, and relocating nest boxes to more desirable sites.

The Rt. 20 trail has been more challenging. In 2005, many stations were removed when, during an intensive review, it was determined they were either not being occupied or occupied by undesirables. At this time, all remaining stations on the Rt. 20 trail were renovated. Management has been more difficult in Western New York since field crops, rather than forage and pasture, are dominant in much of the region. As you know, house sparrows thrive in the vicinity of grain storage operations and livestock farms. The Executive Monitor of Rt. 20 has worked hard to maintain a full cadre of monitors for this section of the trail, not always with success. From I-81 east, the trail has been managed very well. That section is a model for managing such a trail.

Since I am aware of the very dedicated efforts of many individuals involved with these trails, I could not let the all encompassing negative statement go unaddressed. Those on the list who are not familiar with NYS or the NYS Bluebird Society would get the wrong impression regarding our trails. As we all well know, consistent monitoring and proper placement of nest boxes are crucial to a successful trail. Every effort is made to see that our trails have monitors and, as noted above, periodic reviews of our entire trail systems are performed.

Who knows, perhaps someone on this list, who lives in western NY and was unaware of the need for monitors, will read this and volunteer as a monitor for a section of western Rt. 20!! If so, please contact me off list.

Yours in bluebirding,

Lynne Ridgeway
Ulster County Coordinator
NYSBS (NYSBS.org)



From: rob barron [mailto:rebel1956"at"comcast.net]
Sent: Tuesday, February 28, 2006 5:11 PM
Subject: RE: Trails, home plots, couch potatoes and hammers

Dear Lynn,

I am sorry you interpreted my sentence as an all encompassing negative statement. It wasn’t intended that way. I was reiterating Keith Kridler’s comment (in a thread about nest box contests) that the nest box is second in importance to the people who monitor them. I drove Rt. 20 in eastern New York State daily from Duanesburg to Sangerfield for several summers and almost every weekend for the last 12 years. I know Ray Briggs from my volunteer efforts with the Schoharie County Bluebird Society and think the NY Bluebird trails are one of the most amazing achievements in Bluebirding history. Nonetheless, I witnessed daily the problems that arise from unmonitored nest boxes and was simply making the point that if we could get more people involved in Bluebirds on a small scale in their own yards we would probably have more regularly monitored Bluebird nest boxes. My statement was not intended as criticism of NY Bluebird volunteers or the system of trails. I apologize if it appeared that way. New York Bluebird volunteers are some of the most dedicated and have the success records to prove it.

Sincerely,
Rob Barron


From: Evelyn Cooper [mailto:emcooper"at"bayou.com]
Sent: Wednesday, March 01, 2006 8:51 PM
Subject: Re: TOO MUCH TINKERING

...
In my opinion, when we are trying to "get more people involved " in being bluebirders and monitoring, making things simple especially for beginners is THE WAY TO GO! I have had some to tell me even what we basically do is way too much trouble. I even had a principal of a school say to one good member that was offerning her a nestbox that if she did not have to put all that garb on there (meaning the predator guard) she would take it. I nearly fainted!...

Evelyn Cooper, President
Delhi, LA
Louisiana Bayou Bluebird Society



From: Evelyn Cooper [mailto:emcooper"at"bayou.com]
Sent: Sunday, March 12, 2006 9:35 AM
Subject: Promoting Bluebirds And Cavity Nesters

To those of you that belong to your state society, if it has a Permit to carry nests and eggs, here is an idea I acted upon. You have to be listed as a subpermittee on the Permit to be able to do this.

Most public libraries have a glass show case just as you walk in the door.
(at least here they do) They have a theme each month displayed.
In my hometown, I worked with the librarian for this month and have used the showcase to display information about the cavity nesters and LBBS.

The background on the wall is yellow and our organization's name is done in letters about 6" high (cut out) across the top of it in blue. The letters are slanted giving it a nice appeal. The outside edge of the wall is framed with a blue border. I have gorgeous 8 x 10 pictures of the three species of Bluebirds backed on dark blue on the yellow wall. Each has a card beside it identifying it.
Up in the left-hand corner beside our name, I have our mission statement
framed in an 8 x 10. Two of our logo patches are secured on the wall
beside each picture. In each corner of the case, I have two nestboxes, one with the Eastern Bluebird that I paint on some. I have "The Bluebird Monitor's Guide" and "Bluebirds Forever" leaning on the wall between the boxes. The bottom of the case has brown burlap on it and the Eastern Bluebird, Carolina Wren and Carolina Chickadee nests and eggs are placed along across the case with small name cards identifying each one beside it. The NABS brochure is placed near one of the nestboxes. I also have a sign in an 8 x 10 frame stating we have authorization to carry nests and eggs standing in the center of this. (We have permits for other cavity nesters, but these are just the ones I have nesting and collectee) I am hoping Kenny K can save me a Prothonotary Warbler nest.

I could not resist putting the little Hummingbird nest my husband found in there too. It is the first one I have ever seen and I think people would love to see it. We have several species that are not cavity nesters on our Permit.

The librarian added a flower in one corner of the bottom and a vine in another which was fine with me as it looked very nice.

This will show the month of March and I have it set up in another town to show it the month of April. One of our board members in the southern part of the state says she wants to do it in her hometown and she lives near Baton Rouge and has lots of other opportunities.

I am getting excellent feedback about it. Just yesterday, I received a very nice call. The librarian told me it is constantly being viewed.

That to me is another way to peak curiosity and interest. It reaches children and adults.

All I had to do was carry all this to the library and the librarian did the work.

What fun! Made me smile!

Evelyn
www.labayoubluebirdsociety.org



From: Keith & Sandy Kridler [mailto:txbluebirder"at"sbcglobal.net]
Sent: Friday, April 07, 2006 8:29 AM
Subject: Re: BLUEBIRD-L digest 1484 now getting Involved

Keith Kridler Mt. Pleasant, Texas
There really is no need to wait a few years to visit with your neighbor about adding more nestboxes! The open field in Maryland would be great for Tree Swallows, the woodland edge good for chickadees, titmice, nuthatches, flying squirrels and yes bluebirds.

I went yesterday and spoke to a 21st Century Club, nineteen women I had never met before. Seven of the nineteen were already feeding hummingbirds,
12 of them either fed some type of birdseed or had up nestboxes. Five bought The Bluebird Monitor's Guide for themselves or a parent or a neighbor who already had bluebirds yesterday. None of them had House Sparrow problems.
Some had now or had seen flying squirrels in their nestboxes in the past.
One was worried about a dominant pair of Cardinals/redbirds that had driven off about 18 other pairs of redbirds in her yard now that nesting season had arrived.

One was going to have to put up another basketball goal for her grandson because Barn Swallows were nesting on the bracket holding the hoop to the backboard. Several other women warned that they now had COLONIES of Barn Swallows in their garage or on their house or on their neighbors house and each started with one cute pair building on their house:-)) One had a crazy Mockingbird driving off every bird in her yard AND attacking the side mirrors on their cars and the windows of their house. Why do they PooP all down the side of my car under the mirrors!!!

I left after giving a "Birds and Bloom" quickie program but this shows that on average your neighbor or fellow worker at the office probably is aware of the birds or concerned about some aspect of birds/animals and/or the environment. For roll call at the program each of the women were asked to stand up and tell about the environmental issue that most worried them!
Topics ranged from loss of rain forests to Japanese Whaling ships to plastic bags lining the bar ditches to falling water levels at Caddo lake (the only naturally formed lake in the state of Texas.)

The AVERAGE person out there is aware of nature and the environment! It is up to each of us to reach out and make contact with people who are concerned like we are and who may need help in helping or getting started in helping our fellow creatures!

I got back into town just in time to go donate blood. The nurse asked me about her "mailbox" bird. She was so excited to learn that the bird nesting in the mailbox by the office front door was a Carolina Wren. That the bird nesting in my nestbox by the street sign out front was a Tufted Titmouse.

I left there and went to a Master Gardener meeting to line up help for a kids nestbox building program for a "Taste of Texas" event at a Texas winery that I will miss while I am at the NABS meeting in San Antonio. Six Master Gardeners that have attended other box building events will run our booth while building nestboxes for an 11 hour event! They acted like they did not even need me there.

Get INVOLVED even if it is one neighbor at a time and only one nestbox at a time. YOU CAN make a difference in the world around YOU. KK



From: happywebl"at"comcast.net [mailto:happywebl"at"comcast.net]
Sent: Monday, April 10, 2006 12:43 PM
Subject: Suggestions for PR material?

I had read on this list (message from Evelyn) about displaying Bluebird information in a case at the public library. We have the same situation at our local library, so I gave my name to the librarian to pass on to the "display case lady".

I have not heard from her yet, but I was in the library Friday and they have changed the display case from a waist-high, 2x4 glass box to a stack of 4 glass boxes that are about 2'x2'. This will be a problem, in that I do not much to display except for a nesting box, which I will buy, and a couple of good bluebirding books. I can also print some photos from the internet, but with the new setup no one will get down on their knees to look at the bottom two cases to read literature; I was planning on displaying some information in the form of brochures, etc. What I need is "objects" to catch the eye. Usually the displays are collections of items from local people, like figurines, or teacups, etc.

Any suggestions? I fear this might not work now. I have no nests or eggs, which I am sure is what people want to see.

Any help will be appreciated!

Barbara in Cloverdale



From: Herb Kelley [mailto:herbsho"at"centurytel.net]
Sent: Tuesday, April 11, 2006 5:50 PM
Subject: Summer BB camp

Where I live we have some find folks who volunteer their time in putting together summer camp type venues for the kids.
It is always on a Saturday and they _expect _ parent participation.
They do some neat things like pottery on a wheel, mountain climbing and even did scuba. Last year the capped the summer off with a fall party including bonfires, makings for somores (you roast your own
marshmallows) , candied apples, popcorn, hot chocolate and a hay ride.
all for free. More like introduction to things they might want to
learn more about. Anyway, I have been asked by one of the program
leaders, a retired school teacher, to support a 2-3 hour Blue Bird
program for 4-7 year olds. She wants them to build BB houses. I have
done bird house building before with older kids but without parental involvement.

I plan on simple houses with predrilled nail holes. She also asked if
I had a write up/talk to give the kids. I have an adult one but nothing that works at kid level.

My reason in writing this is to ask if anyone out there has any ideas/information they can share with me to make this event memorable
for the kids. We are talking future BB monitors here. She does not
want to frighten them with talk of snakes, etc. so I guess it has to be
bed time story stuff. The BB is Missouri's state bird and our local
nine year old BB trail has been instrumental in bringing BB back into our area so it is fitting that we have a BB program. The plan is to have a maximum of 25 kids per session times two sessions or 50 total.
That is a relief since they some programs for over 200 kids!

Right now we have two problems. Do I have time to cut all those houses and two can they afford the material cost. I will make the time if they can get the material. We are first going to try for donated wood. I usually use cedar boards screwed together. I think pine or fir boards would be cheaper and hold nails longer.
OK, your turn.
Thanks in advance for your help.



From: Keith & Sandy Kridler [mailto:txbluebirder"at"sbcglobal.net]
Sent: Wednesday, April 12, 2006 8:47 AM
Subject: Re: Summer BB camp

eith Kridler Mt. Pleasant, Texas
See if your local building supply companies will donate the lumber, call your local builders to see if they can donate scrap soft wood materials.
Call the local paper to do a local interest article on the need for nestboxes and ask specifically in the article for help with cutting out nestbox parts for this project and future nestbox building sessions for other projects.

Once you do one of these they multiply from year to year and it is more fun to have three or four retired builders/handymen meet at a shop and mass produce nestbox parts.

I switched years ago to a simple flat roof nestbox design on the Texas Bluebird Society webpage that has the back board extend above and below the bottom of the nestbox. There are no angles to cut and parts can be reversed and the box still work great.

The reason for this style nestbox is two fold. No MATTER that you tell people that the box should be mounted on a metal pole people still want to nail it up to wood posts or they will leave it sitting on a shelf if it is a small compact cute looking nestbox. My style nestbox is TOO tall to fit in normal book cases and it looks out of place laying on it's side on a shelf.

Instead of pre drilling the holes we prefer to start the nails into the wood for the kids and allow them to finish driving in the nails the last 3/4" or so. Hardened 7 penny flooring nails won't bend. 6 penny cement coated nails are small diameter but only about 2" long but will bend. Depending on the wood thickness 2" long sheet rock nails are really sharp and easy to drive.

We always give out nestbox plans and NABS information sheets and local bluebird society information sheets for the kids and their parents. Have sharpie pens so that the kids can write their names on the nestboxes. If you are using smooth white pine lumber you can have color pens for the kids to draw pictures on the nestboxes. You can copy sheets out of coloring books for them to draw on later or while the others are nailing together their nestboxes.

The British have published a book, "Spud finds a home" that is geared to inspire this age group of kids to put up and monitor nestboxes......for House Sparrows.

Surely we have someone on this list that is capable of producing a kids booklet with a story line and drawings for kids......Anyway I have to come up with another 45 nestboxes for a Gifted and Talented end of school party in our Dellwood park. Where the kids can check nestboxes, watch bluebirds and build nestboxes. Last year we built 135 nestboxes for 2>4th graders at this school and this year it will be 1st grade and under.

Break the kids up into groups of three or four and keep them together while they build the nestboxes. You can visit one on three pretty easy and these kids are LOTS more knowledgeable in 1st grade than we were in the 4th grade....KK


From: EHDerry"at"aol.com [mailto:EHDerry"at"aol.com]
Sent: Wednesday, April 12, 2006 7:38 PM
Subject: Re: Summer BB camp

Keith and all: There is a children's book entitled Helping Billy Bluebird by Mary Ellen Caruso. It is my understanding that it is out of print, but it might be found in a library. Incidentally, it was printed by QSC Printing & Graphics in San Antonio! My guess is that the book is at the 1st, 2nd, 3rd grade level. Lots in the book about HOSP. The author lives in Connecticut but resides in NYC on weekends. She has worked hard to get bluebird boxes erected in Central Park, but to no avail.

Judy Derry
Lockport, NY


From: Evelyn Cooper [mailto:emcooper"at"bayou.com]
Sent: Thursday, April 13, 2006 7:21 AM
Subject: Re: Suggestions for PR material?

This is a strange set up in my opinion. No, I wouldn't bother with putting something in a case that one has to get on their knees to read the literature. Geeze, what are they thinking!!!

I don't know if they will let you just use the higher cases, but from the size of them, you wouldn't need a whole lot of material. I put more than one nestbox in ours. We have some open from the top down and some from the bottom up. I also put one of mine that I painted EABL on. I had another that one of our members etched and burned a Bluebird on the door of one. Books and NABS brochures and anything else you use could be added.

Our glass displays are built onto the wall, starting at 3 ft. off the floor going 6 ft. high and one is 10 ft. long and the other is 16 ft. long. They are at least 2 1/2 ft. in wide or bigger. I can turn a nestbox sideways and open the door. I have four nestboxes in the largest one showing now. I put nest and eggs in one of the boxes. The other nests and eggs are placed on the bottom on burlap and have cards identifying each species. Pictures of the three species are backed on dark blue construction paper and are on the wall. I also have our authorization to carry nests and eggs in a frame centered and our Mission Statement is also framed and placed in the case. These cases are locked and my material is safe.

Believe me, ours is eye catching. I used letters stating the name of our organization up on the back wall. I don't know if you belong to your state organization, or maybe that would not be a necessity, but it really does add to the whole picture. Your letters would be smaller, but it would add something to the display.

I am assembling things to carry to a member in So. LA who wants to start displaying in libraries in that part of the state. She is a subpermittee to carry nests and eggs. This really is the focal point of the whole display.

Is there another library in a nearby town where you live that might have a better display setup? I plan to show mine in as many places as I can in my part of the state. Having someone in another part of the state that wants to do it too, really does help.

Evelyn
www.labayoubluebirdsociety.org



From: Keith & Sandy Kridler [mailto:txbluebirder"at"sbcglobal.net]
Sent: Friday, April 14, 2006 8:17 AM
Subject: Great Bluebird book for young school children

I mentioned the House Sparrow book for children, "Spud finds a home" the other day and said someone needs to do one for bluebirds.

I forgot there is a GREAT one called "A NEST OF BLUEBIRDS" by Rose Marie Botts Scott.

printed in 2001 by the Wooster Book Company, Wooster Ohio ISBN 1-888683-41-4

www.woosterbook.com

The book is laid out for very young children with a simple but loving story line on the right hand pages with great color drawings depicting the bluebirds life. On the left hand pages in smaller print is an adult version telling you how and when to do all the things that a good monitor needs to do for the bluebirds. Keith Kridler


From: niomi [mailto:niomicmk"at"ix.netcom.com]
Sent: Tuesday, April 25, 2006 1:32 PM
Subject: New Bluebird Website

Greetings from San Diego County, California!

We had our first WEBL egg this morning. :)

Wanted to make it public that we have a brand new 'Bluebirds of San Diego County' website up: www.neighborhoodlink.com/org/sdbluebirds/

The website is not meant to be a master piece (it is a FREE NeighborhoodLink website)...just something simple to serve the needs of the community. I suspect there are many individuals in San Diego County who might be interested in putting up a backyard bluebird box. And if we get enough of them, collectively, we can create an extensive bluebird trail. So I'm willing to put in a little effort and see where this goes. I welcome any suggestions you may have to offer.

A big THANK YOU to those from whom I 'borrowed' pictures for the site. And I am now in the process of adding hotlinks to other sites. So if you would like me to add a link to your website, please email me your URL. Thanks very much.

I wish you many bluebirds this Spring!

Carol Killebrew (AKA Niomi)
Ramona, CA (rural inland San Diego County)



From: Evelyn Cooper [mailto:emcooper"at"bayou.com]
Sent: Wednesday, May 03, 2006 1:09 PM
Subject: Busy People Talking Bluebirds

I could write a book about the many different, unique and interesting places
I have talked bluebirds.

Yesterday was an amusing example.

I went with my husband to another city for a checkup and bloodwork at his
heart doctor's office. When we left the office he headed for the lab and I
stopped and chatted with the receptionists and nurses there. They noticed my
purse with a bluebird on it and my name and also our logo patch on my
jacket. ( I try to be a walking talking advertisement for our bluebirds).
They started asking me questions and said they wanted to see pictures. I
gave them our website address. Several of them were interested in our fall
workshop and meeting. They asked me lots of questions, one being they
thought if you touched birds, the parent birds would abandon them. We talked
for at least 20 minutes and I told them I better go as I figured my husband
was waiting for me. One of them said, "No, he's not because I am the lab
technician and I've got to go do it." She said she was too engrossed in the
conversation. We all had a big laugh.

...



From: Keith & Sandy Kridler [mailto:txbluebirder"at"sbcglobal.net]
Sent: Thursday, May 04, 2006 8:34 AM
Subject: Building nestboxes

Keith Kridler Mt. Pleasant, Texas
Our Master Gardener group went to a "Taste of Texas" event Saturday while I was in San Antonio. There were about 1,200 people who drifted through all of the booths and information tables and enjoyed music & dance at one of our rural East Texas wineries. It was an all day event. They made nestboxes and bird feeders out of gourds and people asked for more than 120 sets of plans to build wood nestboxes and the NABS sheets on how to monitor nestbox trails. They only took 125 bluebird/purple martin sized gourds and ran out by 5 PM. The man in charge of our booth was surprised that when they tallied up the numbers that adults turned almost half of the gourds into nestboxes or feeders because this was going to be geared for children. Chris was surprised at the numbers of adults that acted like kids telling stories about their birds.

Tuesday afternoon I had to cut out 50 wood nestbox kits for an end of school outing for Gifted and Talented students. They brought 45 students K-2 nd grade. I only had one master gardener and she had never helped build nestboxes before. We had about 5 parents and grand parents who brought one hammer.....I had 6 sixteen ounce finish hammers and we broke the groups up into the various age groups. I had all of the adults watch as I let one older girl build a nestbox. Then I went around and helped each of the adults help a child. Two of the men have come to a couple of these events and had helped me before so they were helping some of the new parents and their children. We started with the older students and worked our way to kindergarten as the adults got better at helping children.

We ended up rotating about 12 adults helping to build nestboxes as some of the adults only stayed for one or two groups. We actually got done building the boxes about 2 hours early. They had our local Game Warden come in and talk to them about taking care of birds and animals and what to do when you find an "abandoned" creature. He is a etymologist and really gets excited about insects and the plants they feed on and normally gets them to see that everything is connected in our world. He took them on a walk through our 36 acre city park and none of them fell into the creek.

Out of the first 30 older students we asked them if they had ever built a nestbox before. Only FOUR said NO many by second grade had already made three nestboxes or more. They told stories of bluebirds building in their boxes and laying eggs within a week of installing them last year. The students that had never gotten to make a nestbox got to go first and my student was doing a great job building the box. I asked him again if he had made a nestbox before and he replied, "NO we just moved to Mt. Pleasant from La Mesa, Texas and THEY don't build nestboxes where I came from!"

One parent of an 8 year old came up and thanked me since his son made a nestbox last year. He said, "I never would have believed children this young could do something like this! Ever since last year all my son wants to do is build something with a hammer and nails. We have done all sorts of small projects this past winter and we have three pairs of bluebirds, one at our house and two at his grand parents in nestboxes that he nailed together!"

Our county agent called late to see if we had enough help for the afternoon shift or to see if we were already done. She exclaimed, "Oh MY how many students have hammers!" Because at that moment every student was busy rat a tatting and I still have a headache this morning.

Do they build nestboxes in YOUR town? KK



From: denisefarmer"at"comcast.net [mailto:denisefarmer"at"comcast.net]
Sent: Thursday, May 04, 2006 9:22 PM
Subject: RE: Building nestboxes

Keith, what a great day that was. One question? Whey do you use nails
instead of screws? Are nails better for some reason?

Thanks

Denise



From: Keith & Sandy Kridler [mailto:txbluebirder"at"sbcglobal.net]
Sent: Thursday, May 04, 2006 10:58 PM
Subject: Re: Building nestboxes (now nails)

The reason we use nails and hammers with the younger kids is that you don't have to use pilot holes and drills that might be dangerous if the young kids got hold of a drill. We were building boxes with 5 and 6 year old children and they do not have the strength to run a screw in. You can "help" them drive the nails by guiding or actually helping hammer while they are holding the hammer handle. they think that they build the boxes all by themselves if you help them discretely.

We let 18 adults at NABS shoot nestboxes together with an air nail gun. We used screws for the pivot "nails" in the door. It takes time to teach someone how to use a cordless drill to run in screws correctly. We totaled one Phillips screw driver bit doing just these few boxes. Power tools and drills are just too hard to use when you have large numbers of children. It only takes a second for one of them to grab a tool and drill something they shouldn't! Keith Kridler



From: happywebl"at"comcast.net [mailto:happywebl"at"comcast.net]
Sent: Wednesday, May 24, 2006 7:52 PM
Subject: OT - mounted bluebirds

I need some help/advice regarding handling mounted birds. The local library has asked me to do a display on bluebirds, and the Lake Sonoma Visitors Center generously offered to loan me some mounted birds. I went to them because I have not been able to obtain a migratory bird permit, so I couldn't use a nest or infertile eggs in my display and I thought they might be able to lend me some under their permit. The rangers told me that the pair of Western Bluebirds were mounted on a hollow stump and there was a nest and eggs in the hollow!

When I went to pick them up yesterday I discovered that they are probably older than I am, (very old) and are very dusty and unkempt appearing. I wondered if there were some way I could tidy them up a bit. Does anyone have experience with these obviously fragile displays? I thought of gently brushing them with a soft watercolor paintbrush to remove the cobwebs, at least.

One other thing --- I was told in the last phone conversation I had before I picked up the birds that they had found a mounted juvenile which I could also borrow. I was very excited, but it turned out to be a Mountain Bluebird, not a juvenile. That's fine, since we have them here too!

Whether I can make them a little more presentable or not I know they will be the hit of the display, since everyone wants to see the birds, the nest and the eggs. BTW, the eggs in the nest are white and don't look like bluebird eggs to me, but that's OK, since most people won't know.

Any advice on handling them will be appreciated. I have them in a box with those styrofoam peanuts up to the feathers, but I'm afraid to let anything touch the bodies of the birds.

Barbara in Cloverdale, CA


From: David Gwin [mailto:David.Gwin"at"cityofcarrollton.com]
Sent: Wednesday, May 24, 2006 8:26 PM
Subject: Re: OT - mounted bluebirds

Hi, Barbara:

I agree that these could make for an outstanding display ... BUT...

Whatever you do DON'T try to clean the birds yourself. What you are viewing are the very fragile skins of the actual birds and feathers/skins that have been maintained improperly can literaly crumble in your hands.

You will want to contact a professional taxidermist for proper cleaning. In fact, I bet if you explained to him or her what you are doing with the conservation display they might donate their services for a little plug in a corner of the display.

Also, be sure and get permission from the owners before ANYONE touches the mounted specimens ... you wouldn't want them to be damaged while on your watch!

I hope this info helps.

Take care,
David


From: KCBSP"at"aol.com [mailto:KCBSP"at"aol.com]
Sent: Wednesday, May 24, 2006 9:26 PM
Subject: Re: OT - mounted bluebirds
Just curious if anybody has had any mounted and what it costs approximately.

Kathy Clark, New Cumberland, PA

From: David Gwin [mailto:David.Gwin"at"cityofcarrollton.com]
Sent: Wednesday, May 24, 2006 10:05 PM
Subject: Re: OT - mounted bluebirds

Hi, Kathy:

Taxidermy is as much a science as it is an art. Costs for mounting and preserving birds can range wildly. It all depends on the artist and the specific mount.

NOTE: Without a scientific or educational permit, it would be highly illegal to possess or have non-game birds (i.e. Bluebirds and most other cavity nesters) mounted. However, if you have the proper permit(s), I would suggest you contact a professional taxidermist that specializes in birds. Birds have their own specific mounting challenges and an experienced veteran can properly hand these issues.

Take care,
David


From: Evelyn Cooper [mailto:emcooper"at"bayou.com]
Sent: Thursday, May 25, 2006 8:07 AM
Subject: Re: OT - mounted bluebirds

I would certainly ask the people at the Visitors Center before I did anything about their appearance. Whenever you take them, you are responsible for them.

Also, at my libraries, the librarians do not want anyone doing the putting up (work) of the display in their windows. However, if I were you, I would insist that YOU do the handling of the mounted birds only. You are the one responsible for them and I am sure you can make them understand that you are the one that needs to do the handling. I thought one librarian was going to dismantle one of my bluebird nests before she got it in there. I put them on paper and pick the paper up. She just grabbed up the nest and pieces fell everywhere. So, they really don't know they need to be so careful. You have to tell them.

If you talk to the people at the Center, they might be very willing to let a professional spiffy up the appearance of the displays.

Regardless, you are very fortunate to have such generous cooperation from the Center.

Good luck and you are doing a good thing. Keep us posted!

Evelyn



From: Keith & Sandy Kridler [mailto:txbluebirder"at"sbcglobal.net]
Sent: Thursday, May 25, 2006 9:38 AM
Subject: exploding eggs

Keith Kridler Mt. Pleasant, Texas
I pick up/remove hundreds of eggs a year that do not hatch or they might be House Sparrow eggs.

I also take kids out and show them active nests. In the past I would let them pick up or handle House Sparrow eggs but they nearly always break them and there is a remote danger of disease if you are handling old eggs.

At one bluebird nestbox where the young had fledged I picked out one blue egg that did not hatch and I distinctly remember the egg feeling cool laying in my sweaty palm. It was a large group of children and the sun was beating down and it was already HOT that steamy morning. It seemed to take FOREVER for the children to muscle in close enough for each to stand with their face just inches away from this one little rotten blue egg.

Anyway there is always a little Johnny in the group and he would not move but force other children to move to make room for everyone else to take a turn at looking at the bad egg. All of a sudden this egg sitting on the palm of my hand with the sun beating down, exploded with a loud POP right in Johnny's face. Here he was screaming with rotten egg juice dripping from his eye brows, thirty or forty other children are screaming in horror or delight. I am standing there with rotten egg in my hand and on my shirt.
Teachers are panicking, parents are jerking their kids out of line to see the egg or watch Johnny......A horrible stench filled the air and this does not go away with wet wipes.....

At another event I exchanged the old eggs in my plexi-glass display with some I had gathered over the past couple of weeks. I was giving a street demonstration at a fair and the nest display of 9 different species of bird nests, most with old eggs went from the back of my truck camper shell to the display table sitting in the sun. Over the next two hours four or five of these newer eggs exploded in my display case.

These actually work pretty good because when you tell children they should not touch a bird egg or you might get that smelly stuff all over you they tend to believe you.

OH yeah I often use Sandy's car to check nestboxes. If you forget and leave buckets or tubs of old nests in the trunk of a car for a few days you will begin to have some of them explode in the trunk. Rotten egg juices that dry on car paint are REALLY hard to wash off and the scent does NOT come out of carpet.

Sometimes birds will lay an egg that has almost no yolk or egg white and some may start out half filled with air. These won't hatch and they can almost be completely dried out by the time their siblings fledge if there is high heat in the nestbox and low humidity. If you are going to display old eggs be sure and poke a small hole in one end of the egg shell to allow the pressure to escape. KK



From: Keith & Sandy Kridler [mailto:txbluebirder"at"sbcglobal.net]
Sent: Wednesday, May 31, 2006 11:11 PM
Subject: Building nestboxes with children

Keith Kridler Mt. Pleasant, Texas
Below is a link to the "standard" nestbox I normally make. They have it labeled as TB-1 http://www.texasbluebirdsociety.org/documents/nestboxplans.pdf

You can always change "standard" nestboxes some to make your wood work out better or it depends on your saws or skills.

I used 2" long 6D hot galvanized nails for this last batch of nestboxes that are now being made for hard board or cement board siding. They are a thin shank with a small head, but hardened somewhat but I am always amazed at the numbers of nails that children bend while building nestboxes! I bought 10 pounds of nails for 50 nestboxes. There were supposed to be 50 children K>8 th grade so I took an extra 10 kits because adults and children will break up some boards and you DON'T want to run short. It looks like they drove or bent about 7 pounds of nails. We had a couple of kits left over as some children built an extra nestbox.

We had about 8 to 10 hammers and either an adult or an 8 th grader in charge of helping the younger ones actually hammer in the nails. For the first time in a long time blood was drawn as two of the 8 th graders got nailed by the younger kids hammering.

Be sure and have either some end nipper wire cutters or side cutters for cutting off errant nails that come out at odd spots. End nippers work great at pulling out bent nails. One of the things that the kids wanted was an easy opening nestbox. I have found that making the floor board 1/16" wider than the sides allows just enough room so that the side can open up from the bottom and not bind. I double rip boards so that pieces of nestboxes are exactly the right size as children want a good working nestbox!

When you build fifty nestboxes in two hours with children you do not have time to find pieces that match.

You do not leave drills plugged in where a child can pick one up and saws cannot be used in a situation like this. It can be a lot of fun if it is done right. KK



From: Bet Zimmerman [mailto:ezdz"at"charter.net]
Sent: Thursday, June 01, 2006 3:31 PM
Subject: No child left inside

I think I spent my entire childhood (1960s) either reading books or playing outside, catching turtles and copperheads, hypnotizing toads, looking at pond water under a toy microscope, and trying to get robins eggs I found on the lawn to hatch. My early bird trapping attempts involved chasing them around the yard trying to throw salt on them (I think someone told me that would make it so they couldn't fly.) I also had a cardboard box propped up on a stick, with birdseed underneath, and tried to yank the stick out with a string to catch a bird (never worked.) I remember promising God I would go to church every Sunday for the rest of my life if I could just catch a big tadpole (also didn’t work.) At one point, I was the only person in the entire State of Pennsylvania to have ever been bitten by a mole. The authorities were convinced it must have been rabid, even though my parents explained that it bit me while I was trying to stuff it into a milk bottle. (I was very upset when the health officials came out and unearthed it from the grave where we had ceremoniously buried it after it died, probably of shock.) My fondest childhood memories are of nature walks in the woods with a neighbor who had no children of his own but loved the outdoors. I was fortunate to live in a place where open space was within blocks of my home.

Today, kids are so into computers that some have to be literally thrown outside with the door locked behind them (and then they have fun). I don’t have children (nor am I particularly fond of most of them, or of public speaking or building nestboxes, although I think it is absolutely wonderful and essential that other people do so). I do have a children’s activity page on my website at http://www.sialis.org/children.htm that has coloring pages, games, activities etc.

Anyway, the new State of CT Dept. of Environmental Protection Commissioner has started a new program called “No Child Left Inside.” Her concern is that we are raising an entire generation of children that have little or no appreciation for the natural world, and when they grow up, will have little understanding about it or desire to protect it. Here is an article recently printed on the program that I thought you might be interested in.

NO CHILD LEFT INSIDE.

Think back to your childhood. Perhaps your ran through the field chasing after an elusive butterfly, entered the forest and turned over logs and rocks to discover redback salamanders, walked along the pond’s edge as the green frogs leapt into the water to escape your grasp. All these experiences have become rare for many of our children and yet these experiences shape who we are and who we will become.

More than four decades ago Rachel Carson wrote that the experience of nature was necessary for children’s physical, cognitive and emotional development. In 2005, Richard Louv writes in his book “Last Child in the Woods, Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder” that our children today are the first generation to be raised without meaningful contact with the natural world. Stephen R. Kellert (2002) suggests that although there are positive aspects to organized programs and mass communications exposure to the natural world, these are not adequate substitutes for diminished direct encounters with nearby and familiar natural environments.

What has happened? Why aren’t children wading in the water, getting stuck in the mud, or understanding why dragonflies are so absolutely amazing? Why don’t kids know what a salt marsh smells like or how to build a boat that won’t sink?

There are many reasons – we have become fearful of letting our children venture into the outdoors by themselves, more parents are working, and children are “plugged in” to television, CDs and video games. Research indicates that we have to get our children “unplugged” and let them discover nature for themselves.

DEP Commission Gina McCarthy, not unlike Rachel Carson and Richard Louv, does realize how important it is to get our kids “unplugged” and back outdoors. Adopting the phrase “No Child Left Inside” as its title and mission the Commissioner has begun a campaign that will reach out to families across Connecticut and make them aware of the many educational and recreational opportunities available in our CT State Parks and Forest. The No Child Left Inside initiative will work in partnership with many organizations throughout the state to promote visits to CT’s State Parks and Forests for outdoor activities and to build an enthusiasm for continued natural resource based recreation and education.

Children need to have fun in the outdoors. It is important to our children’s health. It is important for their cognitive development. It is important for the development of our next generation of environmental stewards. For more information about DEP's outreach and education programs, contact Diane Joy at 203-734-2513 or diane.joy"at"po.state.ct.us

From The Habitat, Vol XVIII, No.1, Winter 2006



From: roy pischer [mailto:tlp4456"at"msn.com]
Sent: Thursday, June 01, 2006 9:35 PM
Subject: No child left inside - Perhaps OT

Bet, I work for Boys & Girls Town of Missouri, an organization that helps children who are the victims of abuse, neglect and abandonment. I forwarded your message, with some comments from me. to our President, regional Vice-Presidents, and directors in my regions. I believe that healing happens when we study and watch and enjoy nature. We do an awesome job helping kids at Boys & Girls Town of Missouri, but I think we can do more.
Thank you for this terrific message.

Trudy Pischer
Willard, MO



From: Stan Merrill [mailto:stan_1ch"at"yahoo.com]
Sent: Thursday, June 01, 2006 10:40 PM
Subject: Re: No child left inside - OT

Greetings EveryBIRDie!

OT? On Topic? Yes, indeed!

As long as we are acquainting today's youth with Nature -- birds specifically, how much more ON topic can we be?

I concur wholeheartedly with encouraging children's being outside, exploring nature, and learning an appreciation for our feathered friends!

However, as a grandpa doting over four precious granddaughters, ranging from four months to nearly five years, I would add a note of caution to parents, grandparents, and friends of today's youth, that you MUST BE SUPERVISING THEM OSTENTATIOUSLY, lest they become victims abducted by a pedophile right from their home yards, play areas, etc. If you don't believe me, obviously you haven't been tuned in to TV news lately.

Happy birding!

Stan Merrill
Apple Valley/St. Paul, MN



From: Keith & Sandy Kridler [mailto:txbluebirder"at"sbcglobal.net]
Sent: Friday, June 02, 2006 8:47 AM
Subject: More on kids building nestboxes

Keith Kridler Mt. Pleasant, Texas

I like to break a class of kids up into groups of three. I tell them to watch closely as we build the nestbox. The adults start the nails until they stick into the bottom nestbox piece so with a 2" nail the children will get to drive each nail the last 3/4" or so. There are 12>16 nails in a nestbox most younger kids can do this.

We use 16 oz. hammers. 13 oz hammers are too light. 20 and 22 oz framing hammers are too heavy. Use "CURVED claw" hammers as STRAIGHT claws are more dangerous if the child smacks themselves in the face if they get carried away swinging the hammer. When this happens the difference is between a bump or a cut!

Even though the adult starts the nails one other child in the buddy group will help hold the nestbox pieces steady while the child with the hammer drives the nails. I discretely help the younger children help hold the box also but you always compliment the box holder on the good job they are doing. You also compliment the one hammering the nails no matter how many they bend or how often they miss the nails. They always feel better when I bend a few and then show them that we can fix ANY problem. You teach them to keep their fingers WELL away from where the hammer is supposed to hit!

If you watch these children you can see that some have eye stigmatism problems as some will consistently over shoot or under shoot while driving the nails. There are some you will have to help. One 50 year old male finally gave up and gave his hammer to a 6 th grader when he could NEVER get a nail in the box correctly. He became the official part holder for the group.

You have to show children how to hold a hammer. At the last event I took a photo of three adults who happened to be caught by the camera at the exact moment when all three of them were in mid swing. ALL THREE adults were using a different "grip" on the hammer handle and only one was actually holding the hammer correctly:-)) I prefer to teach the children to grasp the handle with two hands as they cannot mash their own fingers with this method and they have more control over where the hammer head will land.

You want to have a solid base to hammer on. You are driving nails and using hammers and children will destroy Formica coated wood tables. They will break up vinyl tile covered concrete floors. You may need to take sheets of plywood to cover tables or floors with. It kills my back to spend 3 or 4 hours sitting on a concrete floor and it is worse if I have to start a nail and then jump up and go help 6 to 8 other groups build the first few nestboxes right, then rush back to help my group nail another piece together.

There will be lots of bent nails, sawdust and wood chips and even more good nails laying everywhere when you finish a project. A magnet comes in handy at the end of a project for cleaning up.

These kids watch and listen to you so EXPLAIN the reason for EVERYTHING you do to the nestboxes. Drainage holes and ventilation need to be explained.
Explain why the roof is larger than the sides. Explain why you don't put a nail through the roof right over the entrance hole!

Explain why your pivot nails must be square across and why you put a door on the nestbox for monitoring.

They will copy what you show them to do! For example one of the 8 th grade boys watched as I helped him position the first nails in his first nestbox.
There was this huge knot in a bottom corner of the front board and I naturally skipped this area for a nail and moved the nail way up to the middle of the box front. As he helped each first grader build a nestbox when it was completed the children all bring their nestboxes to me for the final inspection and I make sure all the nails are in. None are poking through the wood to hurt the birds or children and I make sure the box opens EASILY and then I drill a latch hole for the duplex headed nail. I noticed that all the nails on his boxes were placed precisely EXCEPT on the front he skipped the one corner and placed that nail way up in the middle of the box....He THOUGHT there was some special reason for NOT putting a nail down in the corner because I did not explain why I did not hammer through a knot with this group.

Other children were about to cry attempting to place nails through the middle of knots because they thought they HAD to have a nail in that location....It takes me about five nestboxes to teach adults how to be new nestbox builders. Men are harder to teach than women. I can teach a fifth grader to build a nestbox correctly after only two nestboxes because they watch and listen. Adult men already know everything:-)) Normally after the kids are telling the adults they are screwing up THEIR nestbox the adults will listen to me when I come back and give them "suggestions". You NEVER tell them they are wrong! You tell them it is easier to build the nestbox THIS way.

After six or seven nestboxes any children beyond the fifth grade begin to "modify" my nestbox style and you can make four or five different nestboxes from the parts to a TB-1 nestbox:-)) I had some boys make a nestbox out of four fronts and two roofs one time for their teacher. Normally these children will ask PERMISSION to build a "different" nestbox out of my parts.

It would be fun to take ALL sizes of parts and let older children design the nestboxes on the spot.

Bet mentioned she had a hard time building her nestbox at NABS in San Antonio, I assume for the nestbox cam. Geez I had women build a complete nestbox for the first time at the Bar-B-Q in less than two minutes.

Safety first, then quality of the finished product, speed only counts at the Indy 500 because a well made nestbox can last for 20 generations of bluebirds. Memories of a job well done can last a lifetime. KK



From: Bet Zimmerman [mailto:ezdz"at"charter.net]
Sent: Friday, June 02, 2006 11:24 AM
Subject: RE: No child left inside - the next generation of bluebirders

I was thinking this subject was kind of on topic as one of the questions I occasionally ponder is
will there be a "next generation" of bluebirders out there? What are we doing now to help ensure
that there will be? What happens when we are no longer able to monitor our big trails? Who will
take them on?

I assume the keys are education, displays, reading (Keith, I LOVED that book "A Nest of Bluebirds"
from Wooster books - see http://www.sialis.org/books.htm#children), building boxes with children and
having them put them up and watch what happens, taking them along on a trail-monitoring field trip,
trails at schools, and last but not least, getting them OUTSIDE doing hands-on stuff that will spark
their interest, appreciation and future involvement.

I'm guessing many beyond-backyard-bluebirders are older retired folks, who probably have more free
time, and also grew up outdoors. Will kids who grew up glued to a TV or computer screen develop an
interest in wildlife later in life?

Bet from CT



From: lviolett [mailto:lviolett"at"earthlink.net]
Sent: Friday, June 02, 2006 1:39 PM
Subject: Re: No child left inside - the next generation of bluebirders

>From this urban Bluebirder's perspective, the less people in the park,
>the
safer it is for wildlife. In fact, I try to limit my public park trail checks to when kids are in school. After school, walk-by observation checks are made at boxes just before/after fledges. When kids are in the parks it is to play war games with pellet guns or to pursue man-made interests such as using the open space to fly kites, fly remote-control planes, participate in sports, use man-made playgrounds or pic-nic areas.

There are some boxes I can only monitor during early Sunday morning for the protection of nesting birds. Portable classrooms lined up along the school edge are right up against the tree edge of the park where I hang my boxes next to the park sports fields. If attention is drawn to the boxes, it puts birds in danger.

In fact, right now I'm headed to a joint use sports/school field that I didn't want to approach yesterday because of the swarms of people. This morning I will be able to monitor 1/2 of the field while most of the kids are in class. After school is out, I'll go back and try to time it about 4:30 after the kids have left school but before they come back with dad/coaches for sports.

After the Memorial Day weekend, I checked a box that should have recently fledged. As I approached the hanging box tree, twigs and branches covered the ground below the box and I knew from past experience that the bottom of the box would have gouges from would-be thieves/vandals trying to poke the box off the limb. But I build boxes with hangers that have an inward 2"
bend which makes it difficult to poke the box off the branch. The box was still hanging but the undersides of the roof had been jabbed so forcefully that the roof corners were broken off. My boxes are built with screws and a roof brace is used. The roof and hanger held solid under the attack and it appears the chicks fledged safely.

For those of you in developing areas, please discourage joint-use school/park facilities because wildlife never gets a break from human interference. Monitors have small windows of time if they want to check boxes without a thousand eyes watching. The nice eyes are passive (no benefit to birds), the bad eyes will return.

Often, I will sit quietly in an area before or after a fledge just to observe. During my entire time of monitoring this urban trail, the ONLY time I see interaction between wildlife and kids is when kids are abusing wildlife.

Linda Violett
Yorba Linda, Calif.



From: Robert Barron [mailto:rebarron"at"gmail.com]
Sent: Friday, June 02, 2006 2:12 PM
Subject: Re: No child left inside - the next generation of bluebirders

Hi Linda,

What a depressing post. I'm sure a lot of kids abuse wildlife, but I know a lot that are wildlife lovers and just need a guiding hand to help them help wildlife. I've been in your part of California several times and thought it was a pretty place. You don't make it sound very attractive for Bluebirds or people. I would think that there have to be some good kids that can be recruited to help and influence the bad kids. Maybe I'm just too optimistic.

Rob Barron



From: Stan Merrill [mailto:stan_1ch"at"yahoo.com]
Sent: Friday, June 02, 2006 8:26 PM
Subject: The next generation of bluebirders

Greetings, EveryBIRDie!

Each Spring, our local Wild Birds Unlimited in Burnsville, MN sponsors a Bluebird Workshop, including a speaker about bluebirds, prizes, and bluebird [Peterson-style] house kits ("at" cost) for youngsters to make, with/without assistance, to take home and put up.

What a great way to involve today's youth toward becoming a bluebirder of the next generation!

Thanks, WBU!

Stan Merrill
Apple Valley, MN



From: Keith & Sandy Kridler [mailto:txbluebirder"at"sbcglobal.net]
Sent: Saturday, June 03, 2006 10:23 AM
Subject: helping children/adults help the birds

Keith Kridler Mt. Pleasant, Texas
Sharing what I do with Bluebirding/nestbox building is like planting an acorn. I know that I will never live to see a single tree that I plant actually reach its full lifespan potential. I know that when I spread buckets of walnuts or pecans through out the woods or poke in Bald Cypress seedlings along streams or lakes that most of these will never survive their first year. But yet when I walk through a forest I find magnificent specimens of so many species that survived and yes thrived.

I guess Linda Violett and I are totally opposite when it comes to our nestbox trails. She waits until the children have thinned out in a park and I try to catch the biggest crowds of kids. I have found that children will follow you to hear the stories of these birds and to be able to see the sky blue eggs and gasp in wonder at a nest of day old chicks that I get to wiggle and gap for food at my whistle! They can be so full of questions when you show them the babies in pin feathers and how rapidly these tiny rods filled with blood sprout like a blossom into a feather.

You can pick up a large feather and show them how to unzip the parts of a feather and then show them how a bird can preen it's feathers and "sew" the barbs back together again to repair a ripped feather! You can show them the different kinds of feathers just by having them search around in a park as you walk along!

Birds are a terrific teaching tool and we all need to use them to inspire children and adults and what better bird than the bluebird? I have included a couple of modern day maps of the Eastern Bluebird. I live in the Northeast Corner of Texas. When these first maps came out in the 1970's EVERY high population area on these maps of breeding Eastern Bluebirds could be traced back to bluebird projects or individuals that maintained huge trails back in the 1920's to 30's and they in turn inspired locals to place nestboxes through out that region.

http://www.mbr-pwrc.usgs.gov/bbs/htm96/cbc622/ra7660.html

http://www.mbr-pwrc.usgs.gov/bbs/htm96/map617/ra7660.html

The late Robert McKinney said that he could not carry a Blue Whale to a classroom or teach a child to build a nest for a Bald Eagle that these birds would use BUT you could teach them about the bluebirds and actually have many of them attract them into their yards, sometimes within a matter of days!

Yes many if not most of these novice bluebirder/conservationists to be will make mistakes, many will lose interest and life challenges will crowd out their thoughts of helping the birds just as a forest of saplings will get crowded out until only a few per acre will dominate that spot.

When a giant tree crashes to the ground it will normally have produced millions of seeds during it's life time. If only one single seed survives to produce more seeds then it has replaced itself. You can spread the seeds of conservation by simply giving your neighbor a nestbox and teaching them the joys of bluebirding.

I gotta go because the man who brought me a truck load of white pine a couple of weeks ago was so excited seeing the photos of the kids building nestboxes the last couple of weeks with his scrap wood just called and is bringing over an even larger load of wood and wants to help cut up some logs for even more nestboxes. You never know how big a tree will get just by looking at the seed. Some seeds will lay in the ground dormant for decades but when conditions are right they will explode into growth and produce blooms for all to enjoy. The pecan pie you eat today came from a nut planted on average more than a century ago. KK



From: Shari Kastner [mailto:smk"at"teamv.com]
Sent: Saturday, June 03, 2006 1:59 PM
Subject: RE: helping children/adults help the birds

AMEN! I couldn't have said it any better, as with anything I read from Keith. Children learn what they know from adults. Teach them about your passion and they will take a part of you with them.

My bluebird experience started three summers ago when a bluebird nested in my apple orchard and used my front lawn to feed all summer. Last summer, the bluebirds came back, but they did not stay, so I decided to do more to attract them to my neighborhood. We went to the lumber store to buy wood, my husband cut the wood for Peterson boxes, and then I asked the neighborhood kids to build the boxes. Every child that built a box got to take it home where we picked out a spot in their yard to erect the box the same day. They are very proud of the boxes they built. When I monitor, they come over to talk to me to find out what is happening with the box, as do their parents. They watch how their parents and neighbors are trying to help restore the bluebird population, and by observing us, they are learning how to respect nature. Often I see my 10 year old daughter reading my birding books at the kitchen table, trying to identify birds she sees in our yard. What we do teaches them how to interact with nature. The more children we teach, the better the bluebird's future.

I understand that Linda's trail is not on residential property, but instead where the public gathers, which can be contributing to her problem. Keith seems to have worked out a way to try to educate the children that use the parks and public areas along his trails and I commend him for that.

Just my two cents,

Shari Kastner
New Berlin, WI



From: Maynard Sumner [mailto:m-r-sumner"at"juno.com]
Sent: Saturday, June 03, 2006 2:40 PM
Subject: RE: helping children/adults help the birds

I enjoy giving Bluebird talks to children. You always have one who will give you a hard time. Most of the time I can turn this into a good thing for all. I have boxes set up at some of the schools and parks. It is not the children that do things to my boxes, it is the adults.

Maynard Sumner
Flint, MI



From: Bruce Burdett [mailto:blueburd"at"verizon.net]
Sent: Saturday, June 03, 2006 3:01 PM
Subject: Re: helping children/adults help the birds

Keith,
Your essay on working with children and young people was right on target.
I have spent my entire life in the teaching profession, and everything you said about the work you do and the satisfaction that it brings rings absolutely true. There's nothing to compare with it, and Bluebirding offers special opportunities to engage young people in productuve, hands-on work with many elements of our natural world.
I worked in the field of Foreign Languages, but our school offered many programs outside the academic curriculum where students could do practical work which interested them. In my case, though I wasn't into Bluebirding then, I did run programs in both beekeeping and amateur forestry., and many of my participants still keep active in those fields today. My guess is that many of your charges will eventually move on up into more serious scientific undertakings.
Thanks for doing what you do.
Bruce Burdett
SW NH



From: lviolett [mailto:lviolett"at"earthlink.net]
Sent: Saturday, June 03, 2006 3:25 PM
Subject: Re: helping children in Central Park, NY

How many nestboxes are in Central Park, New York? If none, why not?

Linda Violett
Yorba Linda, Calif.


From: Em2Molnar"at"aol.com [mailto:Em2Molnar"at"aol.com]
Sent: Saturday, June 03, 2006 4:06 PM
Subject: Re: helping children/adults help the birds

Emery
Keith you have hit a Home Run again.In the six short years we have been involved with
the Eastern Bluebird, we found that being involved with the kids at schools in Wisconsin
and Florida has given us the greatest satisfaction.
They are interested and ask the best questions.
Thank you again
Emery and Evelyn Molnar


From: EHDerry"at"aol.com [mailto:EHDerry"at"aol.com]
Sent: Saturday, June 03, 2006 4:20 PM
Subject: Re: helping children in Central Park, NY

The New York State Bluebird Society has a County Coordinator/Bluebird Ambassador program. There may be one or more of CCs/BAs representing a particular county or borough in the State. One woman volunteered a few years ago to be the Bluebird Ambassador for New York City. She actually lives in CT, where she maintains a bluebird trail, but spends weekends in NYC not far from Central Park. She stated that her goal was to get at least one bluebird nestbox in Central Park as none existed in the Park at that time. She has had meetings with the caretaker/manager of the Park who, in turn, meets with the Central Park Conservancy. To date, her work to place a nestbox in the Park has been futile. The main concern expressed by the Conservancy is potential vandalism. The BA even suggested putting the box on a small island in a lake/pond in the Park, and she offered to monitor this box by boat! I spoke with this BA a few weeks ago and she expressed her commitment to continue her efforts and not give up.

Judy Derry
Lockport NY (400 miles west of NYC)


From: lviolett [mailto:lviolett"at"earthlink.net]
Sent: Saturday, June 03, 2006 5:46 PM
Subject: Re: helping in Central Park, NY

Thank you, Judy. Your information confirms that population conditions in Central Park are similar to what we are working with here in neighborhood parks of congested Orange County, California. Vandalism is caused by people knowing that a nestbox exists *and* that people have access to that nestbox.

In other words, you won't have blissful and eager kids tagging along behind an optimistic monitor in Central Park for more than one season. Nor will the boxes be post-mounted.

Please have the brave lady who wants to put nestboxes in Central Park email me or Dick Purvis. We can probably give her the nuts and bolts she needs to build a trail in Central Park.

Linda Violett
Yorba Linda, Calif.



From: Evelyn Cooper [mailto:emcooper"at"bayou.com]
Sent: Sunday, June 04, 2006 7:17 AM
Subject: Re: No child left inside - the next generation of bluebirders
Hi Bet:

I think about this subject quite often. I think this is most likely one of the biggest problems that the cavity nesters may face in years to come, lack of interest in the next generation to keep their nesting places going.

We just have so many things to compete with and most children are glued to their TV and computer sets.

I feel many children love outdoors and would be very interested, they just don't have the adult leadership and guidance they need to foster that interest.

I stand in awe at Keith's work with children and all that he does to stir their interest. We've given some presentations to schools, but not nearly as many as we should. We just need more help with adults willing to do it.

On a personal level, I have exposed every single one of my children's family to cavity nesters. I also get a lot of opportunities on a one on one basis to show others too. But, I feel there is still a greater need.

If all of us could be more aware that we need to DO something if only a one on one basis, we are truly helping! There are kids everywhere. Find one and spur their interest!

Sheryl and I took Eva Grace (2 1/2 years old) to check my trail yesterday morning. You should hear her say "Birdhouse" and get excited about the eggs and birds. She even thought the breaker box on the power pole was a nestbox!
She said "There's a birdhouse!".

I think in our advertising for our workshops in the newspapers, we will word it so they will know it is geared for children too. We have a few, but not nearly enough.

Evelyn www.labayoubluebirdsociety.org



From: rdb"at"att.net [mailto:rdb"at"att.net]
Sent: Sunday, June 04, 2006 9:08 AM
Subject: Central Park

On the bright side, there's something positive going on at Central Park concerning kids and nature. The Central Park Conservancy has summer camp programs for kids that include: wildlife, pond study, trees and flowers, birds, climbing and orienteering and exploring. I think they also run a junior naturalist program. So maybe if setting up nestboxes around the park is not something feasible (and I don't know that for sure), there are other ways to help connect kids with nature. Some people and organizations donate to send needy urban kids to these camps.

http://www.centralparknyc.org/activities/recreation/camp

--rudy
in maryland



From: Keith & Sandy Kridler [mailto:txbluebirder"at"sbcglobal.net]
Sent: Sunday, June 04, 2006 10:51 AM
Subject: vandalism verses education

Keith Kridler Mt. Pleasant, Texas
Just because I educate children and adults about my trails and share the miracle of life unfolding in these simple nestboxes does NOT mean that I do not experience vandalism or theft! I gave my first slide program on bluebirds and birds in the summer of 1975 and I was SCARED to DEATH! MANY people still don't know or care about what we do. On the other hand you cannot travel within 60 miles of our town, stop the car in good bluebird habitat and not see or hear bluebirds. It is NOT unusual to count 10 or 15 nestboxes per mile in the yards of people. Some people have 30 nestboxes in their yard! (Go back and look at the BBS and CBC maps and the dark area in East Texas has/had DOZENS of bluebirders doing what I was doing since the late 70's early 80's.)

Don Hutchings (quoted often in The Bluebird Monitors' Guide) stopped by to pick up 10 more nestbox kits yesterday for another park project. He needs 100 more nestboxes for a 1,000 acre park 8 hours drive WEST of Mt. Pleasant.
We both remarked that in the last couple of years all the nestbox projects we have done with novices placing thousands of nestboxes that the House Sparrows have mainly disappeared on our main trails.

We don't know if all the backyard bluebirders to be are removing House Sparrows or if the collapse of the dairy cow operations in our area or the dwindling of the cattle industry being replaced with goats or the new Bio-Security measures on the chicken farms is making the House Sparrows disappear.

Don and I also talked about theft of nestboxes in certain areas and what areas (farmers and landowners) or churches we need to approach next. Don makes a nestbox for churches like the TB-1 with the back board extended about 6" above the roof of the nestbox. He cuts this backboard extension out so that he leaves a cross standing over the roof of the nestbox. This looks REALLY nice placed in country cemeteries or the backyards of churches.

Every Sunday morning churches hold classes for children and you can go and take a couple of nestbox kits to these classes. Talk to them about why they need to place nestboxes and show them how to monitor these nestboxes for their church yards. If you only have House Wren habitat in a totally urban setting then build them a House Wren entrance holed nestbox and NOT a bluebird nestbox. You can build them Chickadee nestboxes if you fear House Sparrows will be allowed in them. Start out with the 1&1/2" hole and add the 1&1/8" hole restrictor as you would be surprised at the number of bluebirds that show up in church yards! You might be able to convince an adult to "smite" the House Sparrows when the children are not present. We have had some churches monitor the nestboxes every Sunday morning with the children.

If you can't build a nestbox or don't have any saws approach the church and see if they have a carpenter in the congregation. Ask for scrap wood and nestbox poles.

I started out by hiding my trail nestboxes hundreds of feet away from road sides. I hid them on the back sides of power poles or hidden behind tree trunks. I sometimes walked a loop checking nestboxes for miles collected ticks and chigger bites. When I was young it was a financial burden for me to buy hinges, wood and nails and pay for this by mowing lawns! I could grow gourds practically for free.

My problems came when I got my first motorcycle and bluebirds had multiplied to the point I needed hundreds of nestboxes that were right along the roads so I could ride into the bar ditches and check the nestboxes without getting off my bike. It was NOT normal for a teenager to be concerned with birds in the 1970's and rumor spread that these nestboxes were drug drop offs.
Nestboxes disappeared routinely from private lands and the Highway Patrol officers showed up at the house and grilled my Mom.

We got that rumor killed eventually and then another one sprang up about
1984 that the State of Texas was paying me to check all these nestboxes and that the State of Texas was spending BIG bucks furnishing me with all these nestboxes. When that rumor flew around the area I lost 69 nestboxes from my trails in just two months!

People thought since their state taxes paid for the boxes that they might as well steal "their" box from along the roadsides or out of a park and keep me from getting paid to check that one!!! I have found HUNDREDS of my nestboxes over the years that disappeared from my trails and nearly ALL of these people were monitoring the nestboxes more often than I could.

I have found over the years that the people who steal my nestboxes and the people who vandalize the nestboxes are NOT the ones we have explained what we are doing checking the nestboxes. Humans are curious creatures! I'll bet if you asked the people who are trying to knock Linda's nestboxes out of the trees what they thought she was hiding up there in the limbs you would be amazed at the answers you would get:-))

In parks I often "sacrifice" nestboxes near restrooms and candy/coke machines, at boat docks, near play grounds and these nestboxes can be made out of interior plywood but we use plastic landscape tags that explain what this nestbox is for and who installed it. We ENCOURAGE people to look inside these nestboxes by pointing out the latch nail and telling how to open and shut the nestboxes. IF we get native birds in these high traffic areas we can raise up the boxes to about 12 feet and install ANOTHER sacrificial lamb box down at eye level for children to look in. Many of the bluebird producing nestboxes I have in parks I check while standing on the tail gate of my pickup. I actually leave House Sparrow eggs in low mounted boxes in these parks to see if people are stealing eggs. I have actually placed rotten bluebird eggs in the boxes I want people to look in. You can write on these boxes LOOK but do NOT touch the bluebird eggs:-))

When checking nestboxes in some parks it is fun to have some mother come running up and tell me to leave those nestboxes alone! When this happens you know you are doing more good than the harm a few vandals are doing. KK



From: happywebl"at"comcast.net [mailto:happywebl"at"comcast.net]
Sent: Friday, June 09, 2006 10:34 AM
Subject: Bluebird display

Yesterday I got to put up a display at the local library, and I was there for about an hour while the "display lady" arranged my mounted bluebirds, nestbox, books, brochures, etc. I could tell she wasn't exactly thrilled with the esthetics, as most of the library displays are lovely collections of glass, china, antique bottles, etc.

However, during that short time several people entering the library stopped in the lobby to talk about bluebirds! I was thrilled, since I've met few birders since I've lived here. I met a man who has 40 acres and bluebird trail -- he asked me if I knew anyone else who had a trail in the area, or anyone who made nestboxes.

I also met a lady who had found a bird's egg on the walking path and ended up coming to the library to check out books on identifying bird eggs. She said it was an English Sparrow egg, and she knew that they were non-native birds.

So, even if my display won't win any beauty contests, it is already generating interest and comments. I even included (in the lowest display case) a children's book on bluebirds and a couple of those Audubon toy bluebirds that chirp the bluebird song.

Maybe it will inspire someone to put up a nestbox, or check out the Bluebird Monitor's Guide...at least they will now be able to tell a Western Bluebird from a Scrub Jay!

Barbara in Cloverdale, CA


Continued in Part 6


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