Monday, July 5, 2010

Nest Box Monitors

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, and/or the Friends website,

Photo by Dick Malnory


  1. What a great project! I wish I lived closer so that I could participate. I have a pair of bluebirds in my backyard that produced 3 off-spring earlier this summer, and now they are feeding a second clutch. I haven't peeked, so I don't know how many babies there are this time around. I'm very concerned about their survival whenever they emerge from the birdhouse, however, because I also have a pair of adult Red-shouldered hawks and three juveniles that constantly patrol my yard. I love watching the hawks, but my heart aches when I see them picking off my other birds. Nature is so bitter-sweet sometimes.

  2. My husband, Larry, and I visited Hagerman this past Sunday and were amazed to see the many nice changes that had occurred here over the past several years. I look forward to seeing the new Center once it is completed. Dick Malnory is a great person to have on your team!