Shevlin Ridge Bluebird Box CarolCarol's Corner

Bluebirds Over Bend

One day I had an idea. It was a bold, dare-to-dream-big kind of idea. And perhaps even a little wild. I thought about my idea a lot, until last December, when I voiced it to Kevin, my boss. And he didn’t fire me. He even encouraged me. And that’s how the Bluebirds Over Bend Project began. Let me explain.

If you’ve been reading my column for a while, you know that bluebirds - both Mountain and Western - winged their way into my heart. My seven-acre property in Tumalo lodged a dozen bluebird boxes, with several successful pairs raising young. Then I moved into a small city lot - not exactly bluebird habitat.

So, what’s a girl without bluebirds to do? I hiked the trails of Bend in search of bluebirds. And I found a few in our parks - both Pine Nursery Park and Riley Ranch Nature Reserve. Bluebirds are cavity nesters - secondary cavity nesters at that, which means they can’t excavate their own nest hole, but must rely on natural cavities in trees, vacated woodpecker holes or a nest box. With the ongoing threat of habitat loss, I wondered if we could help by peppering Bend’s parks with bluebird boxes.

With Kevin’s approval, I pitched the idea to Jeff Amaral, Natural Resources Manager at Bend Park and Recreation District. I am thrilled to report, that WBU and BPRD have partnered together and placed 17 bluebird nest boxes in six parks—Shevlin, Aspen, Discovery, Pine Nursery, Rock Ridge and Riley Ranch Nature Reserve.

Now it’s been said of me I’ve enough hope to float a boat in a desert. And as a biologist I’m aware that not all experiments bring results we want or expect. However, I am going to harness that hope and wait and watch for the bluebirds to move into to those nice, new digs.

Beginning late spring, I plan on walking those bluebird trails and monitoring the nest boxes. I’ll post updates. If you like bluebirds and exploring, there may be opportunities to join me on the trail sometime in the future, post corona quarantine.

Often times, in wake of world news - not always pleasant, we wring our hands and worry. With the recent news of the loss of 3 billion birds, this is our opportunity to take a positive stand, one bluebird box at a time. Join me in hope. Let it never be said we did nothing. Put up a box. Hang a feeder. Offer water. In doing so, you are creating habitat in the face of loss. And there is hope in habitat.

Have a Bluebird Day,


Carol handfeeding Chickadee