Years ago when my kids were younger and before I worked outside the home, I volunteered as a bluebird monitor for the Prescott Bluebird Recovery Project. It became almost like a part-time job from February to September each year. After several years as a trail monitor, I began banding birds for the group. Many mornings I was up and out before dawn waiting at a nest box site to trap and band the parents and band the nestlings.
For a girl who never liked to fish because I didn’t want the worm or the fish to die, I became used to having To Go boxes of mealworms in my frig to entice parents into the trap. I still remember the sound the mealworms made in the To Go carton after the chill from the frig wore off and the mealworms started moving around inside again. It was an eerie, scritchy sound as they wriggled around inside the styrofoam carton.
I still have a soft spot in my heart for these gentle little birds. Cooper Mountain Nature Park is one of the most reliable places for me to see them that is close to my home. The mix of oak and grassland habitat attracts them to the area as well as the nest boxes placed on the site. Tree swallows at Cooper Mountain will compete with the bluebirds for nest boxes but with an abundance of boxes, both species should be able to raise and fledge young.
Here’s a few pics of these beautiful little birds from Cooper Mountain Nature Park.