• Accokeek Foundation

Bluebird Monitoring in Maryland: Resources for Beginning Monitors

A female eastern bluebird guards her nest. Credit Bonnie Simpers.

A female eastern bluebird guards her nest. Credit Bonnie Simpers.

This week is going to the birds, literally. Sunday marks the beginning of the Accokeek Foundation’s Bluebird Monitoring season as the faithful Bluebird Monitor volunteers return to repair and prepare the trail of 20+ boxes on the Ken Otis Bluebird Trail. After Sunday, these volunteers will be performing weekly nestbox checks until August to ensure Piscataway Park has a thriving native cavity nester population, and to help collect nesting habit data.

In preparation for the kick-off, I’ve been doing some research. A lot of research. And there’s something I’ve discovered in the process. People LOVE bluebirds. People love bluebirds so much, that a lot of people want to write about them and the virtues of monitoring a bluebird box. In looking for some information about best practices of monitoring, I was overwhelmed by the sheer amount of literature, articles, websites, groups, books, and packets that exist on the subject. You could read about bluebird monitoring until you were blue in the face, and that’s just the first website you looked at.

So I’ve compiled a list. Below are websites and books about monitoring a bluebird nest, and the resources on those sites that are most helpful in-the-field. These resources have excellent information about what to pack in your monitor bag, how to deal with pests and predators, how to identify different nests, how to estimate the age of nestlings, how to collect data, how to build boxes and predator guards, and much, much more. So without further ado…

Virginia Bluebird Society

But we’re monitoring in Maryland? I know, but I can’t help that I love the resources provided by the Virginia Bluebird Society. Their website is easy to use and navigate, and has information or links to just about everything you could possibly ne