Allen Jackson resides in Millville and covers a wide area of south Jersey with focus on Bluebirds as well as Purple Martins. He leads and manages a number of nest box trails in several counties. He has a long history of naturalist activities.
“I checked over my banding records and have totals for bluebirds banded under my permit for 2011. We banded 613 bluebirds in 5 counties (Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic, Salem, and Monmouth) at 38 sites. I do not have the number of boxes but it involved 6 people.”
John Layton monitors several trails and has constructed hundreds of nest boxes including those in Brigantine and Batsto. John resides in Egg Harbor Township and is a Master Carpenter.
Results for the 2011 season (86 Boxes):
•Eastern Bluebirds: 150 Banded & Fledged
•Tree Swallows: 126 Fledged (97 at Forsythe N.W.R. Oceanville)
•House Wrens: 43 Fledged
•Titmice: 13 Fledged
Shelly Cucugliello has a small Nest Box Trail in her hometown of Pittsgrove with records going back to 1995. Some focus on the big trails but over the years Shelly’s efforts have fledged 269 Bluebird young.
Nels Anderson: Pinelands Bluebird Trail view complete report
The somewhat warm spring with no icy blasts or deep freezes helped launch this year’s Bluebird nesting season. The first nest start was found on April 9 and the first Bluebird egg on April 17. The first Bluebird fledged about May 16 and the last fledged on September 2 which clearly displays their extended nesting season. Of the 63 nest starts 46 fledged young. Although weather conditions were good in some areas of the woodlands Chickadee nests outnumbered the Bluebirds. Many times the poor Chickadee is ousted as a Bluebird or Tree Swallow will take over and build right on top of their nest, eggs and all. The gradual change in undergrowth and vegetation with shrubs becoming trees will favor one species or another which at times warrants a nest box be moved to a better location for Bluebirds. On the other hand an increase in nesting activity may require placing additional nest boxes however 100 yards is about as close as boxes can be and still attract Bluebirds in all of them. That new box must also be in suitable habitat so there are limitations.
Wasps continue to be a pest and several removals might be required before they get the idea. Birds will not nest in a box which has wasps, hornets etc. No single predator caused major problems this year although I suspect the two legged variety was responsible for eggs missing twice from the same box. A little Brown Bat took up residence and roosted in one box for a two week period and it was certainly welcome. White Bluebird eggs are uncommon yet one location has produced nothing but for two years now and the young are 100% Bluebird. Overall the local population is stable and the Eastern Bluebird is doing well in the Pinelands. As always, thanks to all who provide hospitality as well as nest box space making this Bluebird Trail possible and successful.
The nesting season at last draws to a close with only one active Bluebird nest containing three young. For this year, the date for the first Bluebird egg at Franklin Parker Preserve is April 9 and the last about August 1. That is a long nesting season and the warm weather is a big positive factor. The first young fledged in mid-May and the last are ready to go any day now which will bring the total fledged to 94 and a new record. Improvement is always good. The halfway point this year was June 30 with half fledging before then and half after that. There were 60 nest boxes in place for most of the season and several species made good use of them. There were some disappointments and “Oh Boys” but that is nature and to be expected. The total results are listed below:
Bluebird nests: 27 Bluebirds fledged: 94
Tree Swallow nests: 31 Tree Swallows fledged: 125
Chickadees fledged: 20
NJBBS Results: 2011