Bluebird Nest Box Monitor needed for recurring Annual Project: April through August each year.
This opportunity is available for Individuals or Groups (with leader). Training is available. If you are interested, please contact DOAS at email@example.com.
Around 18 years ago, John Davis and Marion Karl of DOAS, working with Leatherstocking Golf Course Manager Bernie Banas, decided to site 10 bird boxes on the Leatherstocking Golf Course. The boxes had been donated by Audubon International, an organization that aims to improve ecological management of golf courses, using “integrated pest management.” Audubon International is not related to The National Audubon Society, and the 2 organizations have remained on less than friendly terms; see auduboninternational.org and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audubon_International.
The next step by Davis and Karl was to monitor the boxes throughout the nesting season, which has been done every year since by Davis, Karl and other volunteers, with reports sent regularly to Banas and others associated with the Golf Course and to various members of DOAS. The program has not been without controversy among DOAS Board members, related to continued pesticide use on the golf course, but it is clear that Banas and his team have year-by-year steadily reduced the use of toxic pesticides. The Golf Course is certified by Audubon International, having met its host of requirements for general “environmental stewardship” beyond lowering pesticide use. Davis and Banas have maintained a constructive and collegial relationship in this regard, which Davis believes has helped progress toward the ultimate goal of no use of toxic pesticides (including herbicides and pesticides) on the Golf Course.
In any event, fledging of Eastern Bluebirds and Tree Swallows has been excellent year after year, along with some House Wren and occasional Black-capped Chickadee fledges. House Sparrow nesting has been rare and successfully managed.
A plan to replace all the (aging) boxes is in place. Banas is leaving Leatherstocking at the end of this year, but a new manager will be in place.
It needs to be stressed that a monitoring session is fun, rewarding, and with a constant learning curve -always best when 2 or more people can participate. It’s exciting when occasional youngsters participate. The tour takes from 1-2 hours, usually done every other week. The golf-course workers are friendly and enthusiastic about the project and have become environmentally focused. Encountered golfers are surprised to see us (walking carefully from box to box) but seem interested and supportive.
At this point however, Davis, now 87, is the lone participant and needs assistance, and at some juncture replacement, by whatever means DOAS can offer. He thinks it would be a shame to have to terminate the project in the near future.