Have you seen an Eastern bluebird this season? We have and they’re absolutely beautiful, which is one reason CLC is working hard to protect and create habitat for the state bird of NY. Named for its brilliant royal blue feathers, bluebirds nest in the cavities of decayed trees and stumps at the edges of grasslands where they feed on insects. But in recent years, the loss of open land and the introduction of invasive species have caused bluebird populations to dwindle.
This problem is compounded by massive populations of European starlings, a species introduced to NY in the 1890’s. These birds are more confrontational than bluebirds, claiming tree cavities as their own. This causes a housing crisis for the peaceful bluebirds and has contributed to their population decline.
One way to help our beloved bluebirds bounce back is to build and maintain bluebird boxes, which take the place of a tree stump. These structures are constructed with small doorways that prevent starlings from entering. CLC continues to build and post bluebird boxes at several of our Public Conservation Areas, and our staff works with volunteers to ensure that the boxes are cleaned and maintained so bluebirds are happy to nest in them. CLC recently hosted workshops, where participants built bluebird boxes they can post on their property.
CLC’s work in conserving land and providing guidance on land stewardship also helps protect bluebird habitat. To date, CLC has permanently protected over 29,400 acres of land, much of which includes woodlands where bluebirds make their home, and open fields where they hunt for insects. The opportunity to see such a beautiful bird is just one of the many rewards of land conservation.