Would you enjoy watching a bird’s nest, seeing the newly laid eggs and then the tiny baby birds who would soon be ready to fledge? You can do this as a volunteer, but please don’t take a peek unless you are on the monitor team, to avoid disturbing the birds more than once a week.
One of the Friends of Hagerman’s goals for this year was to add more nest boxes at the Refuge, then Sandy Campbell’s Second Saturday program on Bluebirds in March inspired the formation of the Nest Box Monitors Team at Hagerman NWR. The monitors have met, organized and are working to upgrade and add additional nest boxes at the Refuge. In addition, under Derek Miller’s leadership, a web-based data collection system has been developed and the Bluebird boxes are being given a GPS identifier and unique number so that each monitoring team can record data easily.
Originally there was a Bluebird trail along Harris Creek Trail; now Sandy Campbell has added more boxes there, and the team built a dozen new boxes and installed them along that trail as replacements for deteriorating boxes. A second trail has been added by Sandy along Haller Haven Trail and more boxes placed near Meadow Pond Trail.
The houses are monitored weekly by rotating pairs of monitors from the team and reports made. For last week Mike Chiles and Sandy reported that along the Meadow Pond Trail they found that a Titmouse and a Prothonotary Warbler had eggs; on Harris Creek they found three nest boxes with Bluebirds about to fledge, and one box with four eggs.
Currently the active team members are Sandy Campbell, Jack Chiles, Mike Chiles, Dianne Connery, Dick Malnory, Derek Miller, Andre Pease, Mike Pease, and Roger Peckinpaugh. There is room for more!! Just contact the Refuge to join up, 903 786 2826. Kathy Whaley is the Refuge liaison.
For more info, see the official Refuge website, http://www.fws.gov/southwest/refuges/texas/hagerman/index.html and/or the Friends website, http://www.friendsofhagerman.com.
Photo by Dick Malnory