July 23rd, 2024

Conservation Society invests in ‘nest egg’ for future of bluebirds

By Nicholas Allen - for the Lethbridge Herald on May 25, 2022.

Two mountain bluebirds rest on a tree branch with captured insects. Submitted photo by Kathy Koenig

A local conservation group has established a fund to help the organization save the Mountain Bluebird.
The Mountain Bluebird Trails Conservation Society announced the establishment of an Endowment Fund (Charity Support Fund) with the Community Foundation of Lethbridge and Southwestern Alberta.
They said the fund donations are invested to create a stable source of revenue for the society. According to the organization, they help the society build a sustainable future by providing long-term support for efforts to conserve and restore the natural range of the Mountain Bluebird.
The Mountain Bluebird Trails Conservation Society (MBTCS) has been helping restore and conserve the natural range of the Mountain Bluebird in Southern Alberta for over 40 years.
“Our team of [over] 110 volunteers maintain a vast network of Mountain Bluebird trails, increasing habitat and restoring the natural range of these beautiful birds,” says Jim Leitch, President of MBTCS.
MBTCS brings together Trail Monitors across the region. Spanning from Medicine Hat and Cypress Hills area in the east to Pincher Creek & Oldman River headwaters in the west, and north from the Calgary Bluebird Monitors to the southern Montana Bluebird Trails. Currently, they have a trail network of over 2,700 nest boxes.
“We rely on support from our members and the community to continue to build, renovate, and maintain cavity nest box habitat that supports thousands of bluebirds each year,” said Leitch.
These boxes are one of the main parts of the society’s efforts in helping these birds. Leitch said they are “cavity dwellers” that require spaces left over in wooded areas to inhabit.
“They would take over you know woodpecker holes… they would find any kind of a cavity in the tree. And once those are gone, then that threatens their habitat,” said Leitch.
He said if anyone is interested in learning more about the Mountain Bluebird, “they’re certainly welcome” to attend the annual Spring Orientation on the first Saturday of June.
“It’s just a wonderful time to experience what an active Bluebird trail looks like,” said Leitch.
Leitch will provide a tour of the Bluebird Trail in Lethbridge with those interested asked to meet at Helen Schuler Nature Centre at 9 a.m. on June 4 to convoy to the trail at a private farm on the west side of Lethbridge.
This will be an ideal opportunity to see a working trail with the orientation taking around three hours according to MBCTS.
“I take them down on my trail, show them the activity in some of the boxes. We hope to see some Bluebird eggs and hopefully some Bluebird young at various stages of development and hope to see other kinds of bird species as well and other animals,” said Leitch.
Membership to the Society is free for everyone according to MBTCS, with volunteers encouraged to join. Donations to the Society help to build and maintain the nest boxes and Bluebird Trails. Visit bluebirdtrails.org for more details and resources.

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