It is spring and bluebirds are in the area selecting nesting territory, and that means it’s time to get your nest boxes ready! Now is the time to walk your trails and check all the boxes to ensure they are all in good condition and cleaned out for the incoming nesters. Middlefork Audubon has a bluebird fund for upkeep of the trails, and replacement boxes and other materials are available.
Middlefork Audubon appreciates your time and dedication to this important and valuable program that helps our local nesting bird populations while, at the same time, providing important data that tracks the status of these bird populations from year to year. With nearly 40 monitors overseeing 390 boxes in Vermilion County through the Middlefork Audubon bluebird monitoring program, we want to shout out a bit THANK YOU once again to all our eager volunteers for the work you do! From your efforts, 695 bluebirds fledged in 2016!
DIATOMACEOUS EARTH AVAILABLE TO MIDDLEFORK MONITORS
Middlefork Audubon is able to supply diatomaceous earth to bluebird trail monitors for ant control in nest boxes this year. Ants can infest a next box, crawling among the nestlings and in severe cases cause fatalities. Small bags of the diatomaceous earth powder will be available at the monthly meetings to interested monitors at no charge. One of our 2016 monitors used this powder to successfully control ants, so we want to make sure our monitors have the opportunity to try this.
Note: Diatomaceous earth is a powder comprised of ground up fossilized sea creatures. It feels like flour to the touch, but is quite abrasive and when pests walk through it or have it sprinkled on them, it cuts their skin or exoskeleton. After that, they succumb to extreme dehydration and die. Besides being effective, it is safe and non-toxic to the birds and to us. You don’t want to breathe it in as you sprinkle it, as it can irritate, but other than that it is harmless unless you are measured in millimeters and then it is biological warfare.
For more information on bluebirds and nest box preparations, check out this link from The Backyard Naturalist: thebackyardnaturalist.com/wordpress/eastern-bluebird-nesting-boxes