Lights, camera, Leopold Live! Last month we premiered our second episode of Leopold Live!: Chapter 2 with our incredible partners at Selah, Bamberger Ranch Preserve, and we truly enjoyed connecting with you again as we continue with the series. Our usual hosts, Dr. Roel Lopez (TAMU NRI) and April Sansom (Bamberger Ranch), opened the episode by introducing this new chapter of Leopold Live! and explaining how these upcoming episodes will be a little different from what we covered Chapter 1.
In this episode we were joined by Bamberger’s resident ornithologist, Christina Farrell, to discuss bluebird boxes and how they can be used as a part of your wildlife habitat management plans. Placing bluebird boxes on your property is one of the quickest and easiest ways to provide supplemental shelter and census for populations in your area. It is also a great way to have a conservation impact, as most bluebird species have been in decline across the United States.
So why do bluebirds need boxes in the first place? Bluebirds are secondary cavity nesters and require existing cavities, usually in trees, to make their nests. But they are not the only secondary cavity nesters on the scene. We talked about a few other common species you may find in your nest box and how to identify them just by the way their nests look. One of these species, the ash-throated flycatcher, even decided to make an appearance and sing its distinctive song during filming!
Next, we explored the many different design options available and important features bluebirds need in their nest boxes. One critical detail is the diameter of the entrance hole – it should be approximately 1.5 inches in diameter to allow entry while keeping out any non-target, invasive species such as European starlings and house sparrows. We rounded out the episode with information on how often to check your nest box, proper maintenance and cleaning, and how to keep good records for your wildlife habitat management plan.
This episode provided a solid but quick overview of bluebird boxes and covered a lot of information, so we wanted to give our viewers a chance to weigh in with a Q&A session with Christina at the end. We answered questions about what to do if you find predators in your nest box, how often to check your nest boxes, what to do if you find a bird on the nest, and how to place the box. If you have any of these same questions or are just curious about bluebird boxes, be sure to check out the full episode!
Leopold Live!: Chapter 2 is off to a great start, and our crew can’t wait to delve deeper with you into these topics of wildlife management and land stewardship! Keep an eye on Facebook for new episodes to premiere every month.
Current Episode Schedule
Wildlife Valuation 101 - May 25th at 10:00am
Supplemental Shelter: Blue Bird Boxes - June 29th at 10:00am
Habitat Control: Brush Clearing and Brush Piles - July 20th at 12:00pm
Supplemental Food Stations - August 24th at 12:00pm