Bluebird Trails

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The Northern Shenandoah Valley Audubon Society, an affiliate of the North American Bluebird Society,  funds and maintains three bluebird trail projects in our service area.

The Shenandoah Audubon/Blandy Bluebird Trail, located at the University of Virginia’s State Arboretum and Blandy Experimental Farm near Boyce in Clarke County. The trail system includes 132 nest boxes. For more information contact Trail Manager, Ms. Kaycee Lichliter. kayceelichliter@hotmail.com


The Shenandoah Audubon/Shenandoah River State Park Bluebird Trail, located at Shenandoah River State Park near Bentonville in Warren County. The trail system includes 90 nest boxes.

For more information contact Trail Manager, Mr. Lee Bowen lbowen@ramseytruevalue.com


The Shenandoah Audubon/Belle Grove Plantation Bluebird Trail, located near Middletown in Frederick County. The trail system includes 6 nest boxes. For more information contact Trail Manager, Ms. Tammy Batcha tammybatcha@gmail.com

 
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Shenandoah Audubon/Blandy Bluebird Trail

The Shenandoah Audubon/Blandy Bluebird Trail is comprised of 132 nest boxes dispersed over 700 acres of gently rolling hills at the University of Virginia’s Blandy Experimental Farm. The trail provides critical nesting habitat for our native, cavity-nesting birds, offers educational and outreach opportunities, and collects research data which is submitted to The Virginia Bluebird Society, The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Citizen Science NestWatch Program, and the University of Virginia’s Blandy Experimental Farm. The project provides opportunities for individuals and families to participate in hands-on, field-related Citizen Science. Seasonal workshops provide training for volunteers to become Trail Technicians and assist in monitoring bluebird nest boxes and other activities.

Interested individuals and families may try their hands at field-related citizen science by becoming Trail Technicians and monitoring bluebird boxes. The data collected by these volunteers help grow our understanding of cavity-nesting birds through submission to The Virginia Bluebird Society, The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Citizen Science NestWatch Program, and Blandy Experimental Farm.

 
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Birds of the Trails

The bluebird boxes provide habitat for several cavity-nesting species. Explore the tails in search of these birds:

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Eastern Bluebird

Plumage: can visibly distinguish male from female
Feeding habits: drop foragers; wide variety insects, spiders, mollusks, roundworms
Habitat preference: open fields or lawn
Nest description:  fine grass and/or pine needles, circular nest cup
Egg color:  powder blue, rarely white
Clutch size: 3 – 5 eggs
Incubation period: 12 – 14 days
Nesting period: 16 – 22 days
Broods per season: 2, sometimes 3

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Tree Swallow

Plumage: can visibly distinguish male from female
Feeding habits: feeds on the wing; mostly insects
Habitat preference: open fields near water, marsh, meadows, wooded swamps
Nest description: coarse grass/some pine needles, cup lined with white feathers
Egg color: white
Clutch size: 4 – 7 eggs
Incubation period: 14 – 15 days
Nesting period: 16 – 22 days
Broods per season: 1

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House Wren

Plumage: cannot visibly distinguish male from female

Feeding habits: forages for variety of insects including beetles, grasshoppers, crickets

Habitat preference: farmland, forest edges, scrubby areas, backyards

Nest description: box filled with sticks; deep nest cup lined with fine plant fibers

Egg color: reddish tan; speckled with brown

Clutch size:  6 – 8 eggs

Incubation period: 12 – 16 days

Nesting period: 15 – 19 days

Broods per season: 1, sometimes 2

Photo by fishhawk

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Carolina Chickadee

Plumage: cannot visibly distinguish male from female
Feeding habits: forages for plant and animal sources; seeds, insects, spiders
Habitat preference: forests, woodlots, yards with mature trees
Nest description: moss/fine plant material; cup lined with hair/fur
Egg color: whitish covered with brown speckles
Clutch size: 5 – 8
Incubation period: 11 – 14 days
Nesting period: 13 – 17 days
Brood per season: 1