Maybe you’ve driven by the wooden bird houses that are mounted on power poles and fence lines and wondered about them.
Many of these are bluebird boxes placed by the Prescott Bluebird Recovery Project (PBRP). PBRP was founded in the 1970s to restore the Western Bluebird in portions of Clackamas, Marion, Multnomah, Washington, and Yamhill counties. The major reasons for the decline of the Western Bluebird are loss of habitat, competition from non-native house sparrows and starlings, and reduction of insects due to the use of pesticides.
Last year, over 1400 bluebirds fledged from PBRP boxes. This number was down from previous years, due in part to last year’s extreme heat wave. Still, volunteers reported bluebirds that made new nesting attempts and had success with second clutches.
PBRP is a non-profit organization that relies on volunteers to monitor the bluebird boxes. Monitoring consists of weekly visits to each box on a monitor’s route from early April until late August. During the visit the monitor observes the box, watching for bluebirds or other bird species. Monitors learn when it is appropriate to open the boxes to check on nesting activity and eventually count eggs and hatchlings. These observations and counts are recorded and compiled at the end of the season. Monitors work with team leaders who conduct field training and answer questions.
Every year, some of the volunteers retire or relocate leaving some routes without monitors. PBRP is looking to recruit some new volunteers to monitor those existing routes. This year they will be hosting a Zoom meeting for anyone interested in volunteering. The meeting will be Saturday, March 5th at 10 am. To register for the Zoom meeting, please visit prescottbluebird.com.