As a group we are dedicated to studying, conserving and helping restore the natural range of the Mountain Bluebird in southern Alberta.
The Mountain Bluebird Trails Conservation Society (MBTCS) has been active for over thirty years and was started by the late Duncan Mackintosh. Members have been successful in studying, conserving and helping restore the natural range of the Mountain Bluebird in southern Alberta. With countless volunteer hours, thousands of bluebirds have been banded and tracked. Thousands of bluebird boxes or houses have been constructed and put up for homes for nesting bluebirds. These bluebird boxes have been erected in groups called “trails”, and range within Alberta from the BC border to the Saskatchewan border and in the north from Nanton all the way to the U.S. border. Some trails of the MBTCS have even become a part of a unique event, the Trans-Continental Bluebird Trail.
Restoring the range of the Mountain Bluebird in southern Alberta has definitely been a success. The dwindling number of birds was and still is partially due to predation from raccoons to humans. Adverse weather and ground insects, their main food source, are two natural factors that also affect bluebird populations. When nesting, the Mountain Bluebird must compete with a number of species of birds such as the introduced English Sparrow and the native Tree Swallow which will take over their homes and sometimes even nest over killed bluebirds (Shantz, 1986). The raccoon is another predator of the bluebird, as the birds become easy targets when nesting. Many strategies have been tried and are being tested to keep raccoons from raiding bluebird nests. The MBTCS has worked with researchers from the Calgary Zoo to determine the best method of protecting the birds from scavenging predators. Another reason for the reduced population of bluebirds has been due to human presence. Since the arrival of Europeans, ideal nesting spots have been limited due to forestry practices and the fact bluebirds won’t nest within certain distances of human houses. The house sparrow was also introduced by the Europeans and is a harsh competitor of the bluebird.
The Mountain Bluebird Trails Conservation Society works directly with other bluebird societies, the government (Environment Canada/ Parks Canada) and the Calgary Zoo. MBTS is part of the North American Bluebird Society which has adopted part of the Trans-Continental Bluebird Trail at Heritage Acres, near Pincher Creek, AB.
The Mountain Bluebird Trails Conservation Society is registered with the both the Federal Government of Canada and the Alberta Government as a society with charitable status.
Shell Oil (Pincher Creek) has donated generously funds which have enabled us to purchase our computer, printer, banding pliers and more.
Pincher Creek Co-op has donated many sheets of plywood for nest box construction.
Lethbridge Correctional Centre continues to provide time and effort towards nest box construction.