Photos taken by Kathy Finholm

This week’s Nature Note includes a grateful shout out to local conservation partners, San Juan Preservation Trust (SJPT) and their commitment to the San Juan Islands Western Bluebird Reintroduction Project. two bluebirds atop nestboxKathleen Foley, SJPT Stewardship Manager and local coordinator of the project, received confirmation that bluebirds were settling in at the Land Bank’s King Sisters Preserve on San Juan Island.

King Sisters Preserve has a perimeter trail that parallels San Juan Valley road but otherwise the bulk of the 62-acre property is dedicated to local agriculture. The current lessee, Rob Waldron, grazes cattle and sheep in the pasture and sells the meat in nearby markets. This year he plans to increase his community operation and also grow a garden.

Bluebirds are insect gleaners and they can flourish in farmland. They eat worms and arthropods and naturally they nest in the hollows of trunks or limbs. But they’re also fond of bird houses like those placed around King Sisters Preserve. These man-made boxes can also help protect bluebirds and their fledglings; the size of the entrance prohibits starlings from aggressively intruding and evicting them. Other similarly-sized cavity nesters like house wrens and tree swallows also use these houses.

We are ecstatic to hear that bluebirds have returned this spring, and hope that more of their feathered friends follow suit with their families and take refuge on our islands’ preserves. bluebird with nesting material

For a fun treat, click here to listen to the Western blubebird’s song on the Cornell Lab website, or click here to read local author, Susan Vernon’s, bluebird notes.