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Dobson: Bermuda’s bluebirds need our help

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The president of the Bermuda Audubon Society is encouraging residents to install bluebird nest boxes ahead of the coming breeding season.

Andrew Dobson recently joined Governor John Rankin to inspect the boxes currently set up on the grounds of Government House.

Nests had already been constructed in two of the 12 boxes, Mr Dobson said.

“Bluebirds are native to our island but are now totally dependent on artificial nest boxes for their survival in Bermuda,” he said in a release issued over the weekend.

The death of many of the island's cedar trees — the species' main nesting habitat — during the 1940s, and the arrival of starlings on the island in the 1950s, which pushed bluebirds out of natural tree cavities, has made bluebirds reliant on the boxes, Mr Dobson said.

To prevent rats from preying on the birds, boxes must be mounted on poles.

“Ideally, they should be sited on grass lawns and the boxes should regularly inspected to remove nests being built by house sparrows,” Mr Dobson said.

Sparrow nests are made using a mixture of materials — including trash — whereas bluebird nests are neat and usually constructed of a single material, such as casuarina needles.

Pre-assembled nest boxes and kits to build your own can be bought from the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo gift shop, as well as at Aberfeldy Nurseries, located on Pomander Road in Paget.

Details on how to construct and monitor a bluebird box can be found at www.audubon.bm.

Bluebirds on top of a nesting box - the only option remaining on the island for the birds to breed (Photograph supplied)
Governor John Rankin, left, and Andrew Dobson, inspect bluebird nesting boxes at Government House (Photograph supplied)

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Published March 26, 2017 at 7:50 pm (Updated March 26, 2017 at 7:50 pm)

Dobson: Bermuda’s bluebirds need our help

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