The Sun City Center Audubon Club is preparing for its eighth summer of the Bluebird Project, an initiative started to save the bluebird population in the area.
Each summer, five teams monitor 25 bluebird boxes for sparrow invasions, eggs and fledglings. The Audubon Club averages 100-150 fledglings from the boxes each year. Their efforts have stabilized the local bluebird population.
“We knew [bluebirds] were around, and they are here year-round. They don’t just nest here. They don’t migrate. They’re here year-round. So, we decided to do this project. One of our members, Clara Clancy, suggested we contact the Boy Scouts and see if an Eagle Scout wanted to do it, so that’s how it got started originally,” said Conservation Chair Melanie Higgins.
Higgins was looking for a way to save the bluebird population and reached out to local Eagle Scouts. In 2015, they constructed 20 boxes, and they added five more in the following years.
Bluebirds are considered secondary cavity nesters, meaning they nest in tree holes made by woodpeckers or other animals. However, residents tend to cut down these trees that have cavities in them because they are afraid the trees will fall on their house.
“That’s why they were losing their habitat, but they adapted very well to nest boxes. So, since the 1960s, since people have been installing bluebird nest boxes, the population has increased and become stable,” said Higgins.
The trail of bluebird boxes was dedicated to longtime Audubon Club members Ed and Clara Clancy in February. With the help of a donation from their family, the Audubon Club was able to replace all the boxes to improve the nesting sites for the bluebirds.
Higgins urges community members to plant native trees, grasses and plants to support the local habitat of birds, butterflies and other native animals.
The Audubon Club was started to raise awareness and support for wildlife and the environment. The organization hosts monthly meetings from October through April to discuss conservation efforts and threats to the environment. Over 200 members participate in meetings, field trips and guest speaker presentations.
The last meeting of the season will take place on Monday, April 17 at 1:45 pm. Doors will open at 1 pm. Halle Goldstein from Audubon Florida will present the club’s work toward natural climate solutions.
For more information on the Audubon Club, visit www.sccaudubonclub.com or https://eagleaudubonflorida.org/.