Joe Michielsen

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Why Joe Michielsen monitors his nestbox trailsMaintaining bluebird nestboxes is essential when having a trail.  A clean, dry, nesting site is necessary for bluebirds that choose one of the boxes on my trail.  However, to get data on the success of each of the boxes on the trail, monitoring becomes the key.  The information is used by government officials, MBT, and myself.  Although monitoring doesn’t provide population information, it does provide data on yearly differences in the successes or of course failures of a nestbox.

  If a box is used once or maybe even twice by bluebirds in a year and the brood/broods successfully fledge, all is good. But, if for whatever reason, it isn’t used or the nestlings don’t fledge the information may determine that the box should be moved or replaced.  The BONUS of monitoring is watching the nests fill with eggs, hatch and the nestlings mature in a very short time.  The grand finale if you’re lucky is watching the parents lure the fledglings from the box for their maiden flight.  Seeing them land perfectly on a barbed wire or branch and then return to the nestbox through the small exit hole.

  I’ve witnessed up to nine eggs in one nest! All the eggs hatched and the nestlings all fledged.  It was obvious that the eggs were from 2 mothers because of the color and size difference – now that’s cooperation and a full house.Another BONUS in monitoring is getting out on the trail and seeing “stuff”.  On almost every monitoring excursion I see something that I need to photograph or simply watch.