Autauga Bluebird Trail Flourishing

November 4, 2008

Low Rent Housing for Feathered Friends

2008 was a good year for Eastern Bluebirds [Sialia sialia] living in Autauga and Elmore counties, thanks to the Autauga Bluebird Trail. Your trail fledged over 600 young Bluebirds, Carolina Chickadees, Tufted Titmouse and Carolina Wren in the 168 houses now on the trail. Over 78% of the boxes were used by some cavity nesting species at least one time during the nesting period and many houses were used three times. There is such a demand for nesting boxes that one section of the trail of 30 boxes, where 28 boxes had a new nest, eggs, or nestlings at the same time.

During this past nesting period, we expanded the trail into Elmore County with 6 new boxes at the Bass Pro Shop. Later, 24 boxes, with the help of Rod Douglas of Wetumpka, were added at the Quail Walk Country Club in Wetumpka. Now there are 15 new boxes at Jackson Lake [Island] near Millbrook. We have plans to further coverage in Elmore County.

There is much work to keep the trail and boxes in good condition. Some boxes have been damaged and ten were stolen from one location. Boxes are moved if they are not productive. During the peak nesting period each box is monitored every week and activity is reported to our website at www.autaugabluebirdtrail.com. To view nest results, go to our site and follow directions on the map.

You have a good team taking care of your trail with the City of Prattville Urban Forestry Division heading up the team. They can be contacted through the Planning Department. Teresa Lee is our dedicated webmaster and does a wonderful job for your trail. We have a fine team of monitors that check each house every week, rain or shine, in the hottest part of the year. They are: Gale Myers, Nita Caviness, Morris McKenna, Jim Bigham, John Ackerman, Tom Howard, Roger Tinsley, Melanie Chambliss, Trice Nichols, Rod Douglas, John David Law and Tommy Pratt. We welcome your help on the trail.

The Trail is providing a much-needed service to cavity nesting species that can’t provide their own cavity. With changes in forest management, loss of natural cavities, loss of habitat, and strong competition from introduced species, [House Sparrow and European Starling] bluebirds were in serious decline.  If you wish to help our feathery friends, you can purchase your own Official Autauga Bluebird Trail nest box with printed instruction from the Trail by calling Tommy Pratt at 334-365-5671.  The trail thanks you for your support.

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