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Spring 2010 Vol. 25, No. 1

Bluebird Newsletter of the Bluebird Restoration Association of Wisconsin, Inc.

BRAW is an affiliate member of the North American Bluebird Society (NABS), founded by Lawrence Zeleny

Why do we collect data on bluebirds see page 2

Also inside this issue: Operation Top State - 2 • Tape Your Boxes - 4 • Trails of Excellence - 5 • “100 Club” - 6 • New Members! - 6 • 2009 Monitor’s List - 7 • Door County Blues - 9 • 200 Bluebird Houses - 10 • They Fledged - 10 • Chickadees and Bluebirds - 11 • Woodpecker Habitat Project - 12 • LCBS Success in ’09 - 13 • County Coodinator List - 14 • PUMA Tips - 15 • Looking Back - 16 • Monitor Forms - 19-22 • Winter Blues Again - 23 • Bluebird Battles - 24

Why do we collect data on bluebird nesting success? By Dr. Peter Dunn We often get asked questions about why we collect particular information on the annual nesting survey (Form 21), so I would like to explain the rationale and history of our data collection methods. Our current yearly summary form (Form 21) was last revised in 2008. It now asks for the number of eggs, hatchlings and fledglings from first, second and third nesting attempts by bluebirds. Nesting attempts are not separated for the other species we follow (swallows, wrens and chickadees, primarily). In the past BRAW collected information on nest-box type and spacing that allowed us to make some very successful changes in nest-box trail management. In particular, we recommended monitors not pair their boxes, because pairing often allows tree swallows to monopolize both boxes and that reduces their availability to bluebirds. Based on the percentage of boxes occupied, we also recommended certain box types that were generally successful (e.g., Peterson, NABS, K-Box). Box type and spacing was last reviewed in the Spring 2007 issue of Wisconsin Bluebird. Many monitors found it confusing to keep track of nesting success for different types of boxes and levels of spacing, so after 2007 we stopped asking for that information. In that year, we became aware that bluebird nesting success might be affected by renesting attempts, which would be indicated by a second or third attempt in a particular nest-

box. To understand the importance of these later attempts, we started to ask your help in 2008 to gather these data. This year’s nesting summary shows that, in contrast to last year, there was a slight increase in the success of later (second and third) broods. The current data that BRAW collects each year are only used as an index of broad changes in productivity. Even with these modest goals we need everyone to collect the data in the same way to avoid confounding factors. One of these confounding factors is the number of boxes presented each year. If there are more boxes presented (or more eggs laid), then there are likely to be more nests and fledglings. Thus, we need to look at fledgling production each year relative to both the number of boxes and the number of eggs laid. For the purposes of an annual index of productivity, we need all of this information from everyone who contributes. Adding someone’s fledgling numbers without the number of eggs (or boxes) that they came from will artificially inflate the year’s “productivity”, as there will be more fledglings from the same number of eggs. Thus, we request that everyone complete all the lines on form 21 for it to be included in the yearly report. This is part of unbiased data collection and analysis, and it is fundamental to any sort of statistical analysis. Simply reporting the number of fledglings and boxes, without the number of eggs, will bias the analysis, because

Operation Top State (OTS) is working By Kent Hall Four years ago the BRAW Board of Directors established the goal of fledging 30,000 bluebird fledglings by the year 2011, the 25th anniversary of BRAW. Table 1 shows that we nearly accomplished that goal with 28,808 birds fledged in 2009. We had set an all-time record in 2007 but dropped by nearly 7,000 fledglings in 2008. This huge drop was caused by two factors: 1) bad weather and 2) a drop of about 4,000 fledglings from those that decided not to turn in their data on the new Form 21. The 2009 season is a better measurement of where we stand relative to our 2011 goal. It has been achieved by using Wisconsin Bluebird

the number of eggs can vary annually just like the number of boxes presented. Thus, it is not a viable option to just record the number of fledglings, if we want to have a valid index of productivity. In any study, the first step should be to ask what is the question we want to answer? Currently, we want to know if and how bluebird production changes each year. If the number of fledglings goes up, as it has been in recent years, is it simply because there were more nest-boxes presented or did the birds actually have greater success producing offspring? To answer these questions, we need to keep track of the number of boxes presented and how many fledglings the birds produce from a given number of eggs or nestlings. The latter information allows us to determine if success (or failure) is occurring at the laying (number of eggs laid), incubation (hatching success) or nestling (fledging success) stages. We think this is potentially valuable information and worth the extra recordkeeping involved. We are aware of the burdens of reporting nesting data each year and we try to maximize the amount of information gained with the least amount of work on the part of our monitors. I hope that helps explain the rationale behind the current Form 21. If you have suggestions please let us know. You can reach me at:

Table 1. Changes in nest box production, number & occupancy and BRAW reports & monitors since Operation Top State was implemented: 2006-9.


Total Bluebird

Nest Box

Nest Box

Total BRAW

Total BRAW










58% (3.3+)






56% (2.9)






50% (3.6)






44% (3.5)



# Does not include reports submitted improperly or too late for Annual Report * Boxes with at least one bluebird egg + Bluebirds fledged per box 2

Spring 2010

two principles: 1) implementing proven BRAW management practices and 2) increasing the total number of nest boxes being used. In the three years of OTS implementtation, about 2,100 new nest boxes have been put in. We will add over 900 more for the 2010 season (Table 2). Of particular interest for 2009 is that we had 1,312 more active nest boxes than in 2008. Most of these were new, first-year boxes. First year boxes do not attract as many bluebirds as in subsequent years. In spite of that fact, our occupancy improved by 2% in 2009 instead of dropping. This figure shows that by selecting better habitat and using other good management techniques, the “first year blues” can, in part, be overcome. Better weather, of course, was also a factor in this improvement. I contend, however, that our increase of 14% occupancy in the past three years is due more to better management practices than to more favorable weather. A key to our improved production is the increased number of reports (+82) and total number of monitors (+141). The real importance of the 70 trails

Installed: Fall of 2009

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22.

116: Audubon in central WI 127: State Convention 30: Thornberry Creek GC, Brown Co. 19: Black Bear Trail GC, Oconto Co. 18: Sherwood GC, Outagamie Co. 25: Darrell Eberhardt, Jackson Co. 16: Will/Stephanie Purner, Vernon Co. 35: Paul Feldman, Vernon/Juneau Cos. 13: Doug Dhuse, Columbia Co. 35: Badger Mining Corp., Jackson Co. 40: Charlie Lautermilch, Monroe Co. 35: Susan Baxter, Oconto Co. 35: Washington Co. GC 29: Ruthann Meiers, Shawano Co. 130: Bob Tamm, Waukesha & Milwaukee Co. GC’s 70: Hoy Audubon, Racine & Kenosha Co. GC’s 19: Scott & Tracey Gross: Dane Co. 28: Gail Van Haren/Friends of Blue Mound State Park: Iowa Co. 5: Ellen Lafouge, Ozaukee Co. 30: Arguement GC, Green Co. 35: Veteran’s Admin. Center in Tomah, Monroe Co. 25: Edelweiss Chalet GC, Green Co.

Table 3. Effectiveness of Operation Top State for total bluebird production in 2009 Type of Site Number Increased Bluebird Percent of Increased Production Since 2008 Production in 2009 Installed/Flagged 47 +3,776 50.8% (3776/7429#) Trails Recruited Trails 9 + 558 7.5% (558/7429) Visited Trails 14 + 209 2.8% (209/7429) Totals 70* +4,543 @61.1% (4543/7429) # 7,429 = increased production for all BRAW bluebird trails in 2009 * Of the 70 trails involved with OTS, only 4 failed to show an increase in 2009 (loss of only 39 fledglings from 2008) @ OTS developed trails accounted for 61.1% of all increased bluebird production for 2009 Table 4. Leading states for bluebird production: 2006-09 State Wisconsin Nebraska

2 006 21,379 26,385

2008 23,491* 22,061

2009 31,875* Unavailable

* Includes reports submitted with fledged data but not on a Form 21 or too late for Annual Report installed in ’07,’08 & ’09, however, may be seen in Table 3. The 70 new trails that I helped install or modify, produced 61.1% of the total increase in production for the 2009 season. This, in spite of the fact that these 70 of 405 reports, represented only 17.3% of all reports submitted. It should finally be noted that Wisconsin appears to be heading toward the top state in the nation for the 3rd consecutive year (Table 4, Nebraska has not yet published its 2009 data). Also note that the total fledglings for all reports is 31,869, 3,625 more fledglings than for our 2007 data. While these data can be compared, they are not used for our goal of reaching 30,000 by the year 2011. Only those data submitted properly on Form 21’s and by our October 10 deadline, are used for that goal. During my three years in the field, it has been my good fortune to work with many highly motivated people

who are working in extraordinary ways for the conservation & production goals of bluebirds. The following persons are doing extraordinary work in their respective counties: Leif Marking & Fred Craig in LaCrosse & Monroe Counties; Roy & Charlotte Lukes in Door County; Helen Pugh & Rick Fare of Hoy Audubon Society in Racine & Kenosha Counties, Bob Tamm & Melissa Bruder in Waukesha and surrounding Counties, Mark & Sue Martin and Pat Ready with Madison Audubon Society in Columbia & Dane Counties, Claire Romanak of the Chequamagon Bird Club in Marathon & Taylor Counties, Joanne DeVetter of Brown County and Shelly Volk & Rick Koziel in Eau Claire Co. Our 2010 season promises to be a great one if we can just keep the weather on our side. We now have the dedicated monitors in place to hit our 30,000 bluebird fledgling goal.

2010 BRAW Info Pack

BRAW board members recently revised and reprinted the BRAW Info Pack with updated information and more photos and box plans. To get a copy send a request with $5.00 to cover cost to Sue Schultz, Membership Chair, 5221 Cheryl’s Dr., Plover, WI 54467 (Free with new memberships) Downloaded PDF file, free at www.braw. org.

915: Total boxes for 2010

Wisconsin Bluebird

2007 28,244 22,856


Spring 2010

Monitors: “Tape your boxes”

By Kent Hall Prior to the 2008 season, Patrick Ready, WB Editor, suggested to me that if we could somehow block the entrance to nest boxes for a week after bluebirds fledged their first brood, we could prevent occupation by other cavity nesting species and increase the chances that bluebirds would fledge a 2nd brood. This article gives proof that Pat’s idea was a good one and does lead to increased fledging of 2nd bluebird broods. All data have been collected on the Audubon Bluebird Trail in central WI.

box and across the front and down the inside of the front board. The tape can then be pinched so that it adheres at the entrance, effectively sealing the entrance from other species. 2010 Season: We expect that our taping techniques will be 90+% effective in preventing any cavity nesting species inside our nest boxes for the week that we want them closed. Data Collection in the 2009 season: Closing boxes for a week after the first brood fledges to increase production is based on these solid facts: Table 1a. The vast majority of hens that produce a 2nd brood produced their first brood in the same box. Table 1b. 90-93% of those hens that fledge a 1st brood go one or more weeks before building a nest for a 2nd brood. Table 1c. 29.5% of nest boxes that are not blocked (2008) have other species build in them or do not build a 2nd nest

Table 1c. By taping boxes, the 29.5% was dropped to 11.7%, an improvement of about 18%. Our preliminary data shows that taping is especially effective against House Wrens & House Sparrows and decreases the number of boxes without nests. There was only a 1% increase in Tree Swallow nests, so little can be concluded from that change. I am hopeful that in areas where there are larger concentrations of Tree Swallows, there will also be a depression in their numbers. It could be, however, that by the time the first brood of bluebirds fledges, there simply are not that many Tree Swallows still reproductively motivated to nest. I strongly encourage people to try this technique (Table 1d.) to increase bluebird production. It is my hypothesis that we can increase statewide bluebird production by 5-10% by using this technique.

Design flaws and successes: 2008 Season: Our experimental design was so flawed that we could not conclude anything from the design in this season. The goal was to block nesting by other species for a period of a week after finding that bluebirds had fledged. We first tried to leave the nest boxes open. That did not work because “good Table 1. Post-fledging nest box taping to increase production in the Eastern Samaritans” came along and Bluebird closed them, thinking that they a. Observation #1: If a bluebird hen fledges a first brood and a second nest is built had been left open by mistake. in the box, it is usually by the same hen Evidence: a) ALASBT: A white egg nest that fledges young that has a 2nd nest, 2009 Season: This season our usually has white eggs again (80%) techniques worked better but b) Study by Medhavi Ambardar: 21 of 24: 87.5% were not fool proof. Initially, we tried to stuff grass into the b) Observation #2: Bluebird hens sometimes go one or more weeks between fledging entrances but found that all and starting a 2nd nest cavity nesting species could remove them, even when a stiff Year Total Boxes Same Week 1st Week 2nd Week Weeks 3-6 Total 2+ Weeks plug was inserted. We were 2008 322 9.0% 62.7% 22.0% 6.2% 28.2% amazed! The technique that 2009 117 6.8% 53.6% 36.8% 3.4% 40.2% worked best was to duct tape the boxes. But not just any taping c) Observation #3: During the weeks after the 1st brood is fledged, HOWR’s TRES’s process works. Even duct tape & HOSP’s occupy the nest boxes preventing a SBN (Second Brood Nest) by bluewill not adhere to wood that is birds (or the birds do not try a SBN at all). wet and birds can pull the ends of tape, so ends must be sealed Year Total Boxes SBN’s HOWR TRES HOSP No Nest inside the nest boxes. Nabs2008 (No Tape) 430 70.5% 9.1% 2.3% 1.4 % 16.7% style boxes must be taped starting inside, across the opening, 2009 (Taped) 214 88.3% 1.9% 3.3% 0.0% 6.5% around the front opening, along the side and back and taped on d) Protocol for Taping nest boxes: the inside back. Peterson boxes 1) Remove old nest (leave if new nest has been started) can simply be tape-wrapped 2) Tape box with duct tape if both parents are absent (nearly 100% 2nd nests are around the entrance but with built if one or both are present; do not leave doors open or stuff holes with grass) the end of the tape inside the 3) Remove tape in one week box. Finally, K-boxes can be 4) Hoped for result: More hens will successfully build 2nd nests and bluebird protaped starting underneath the ductivity will increase Wisconsin Bluebird


Spring 2010

Trails of Excellence and Trails of Honor for BRAW Monitors: 2009

by Kent Hall For the 4th year in a row I am recognizing selected trails for their high productions. For the 2nd year in a row, I am recognizing Trails of Excellence (at or above the statewide average of 3.3 fledglings per box) in addition to Trails of Honor (2.0-3.3.29 fledglings/box). To be eligible for these lists, you must be monitoring at least 10 nest boxes per season. I am pleased to say that in 2009, there were a total of 111 Trails of Excellence (+23 from ’08) and 66 Trails of Honor (+14 from ’08). A major factor in making one of these lists is your location in the state. These lists are dominated by trails located in the central & western part of the state where there are higher populations of bluebirds and reduced populations of Tree Swallows. Those trails located in se WI, along Lake Michigan and in the northern third of the state which is heavily wooded, are limited by low populations of bluebirds and high populations of Tree Swallows. That handicap represents 1-2 fledglings per box, on the average. But the trails of Ed Kowalski, Diane Chambers, Paul Barrett, Colleen O’Brien, Steve Sample and Bob Tamm, among others, show that even in these geographic areas, selecting proper habitat and using the good management practices developed by BRAW, can overcome the limitations of geography. I still contend that with good weather, almost any trail in the state can reach 2.0 bluebirds fledged/nest box by using the management practices promoted by BRAW. I would hope that each BRAW monitor would set their sites on putting up at least 10 nest boxes which reach this fledgling rate. That is a conservation goal that nearly all who wish to, can achieve. Anyone who finds their name(s) left off of these lists or misspelled, should contact me and the error will be corrected in the summer issue of the Wisconsin Bluebird.

Wisconsin Bluebird

Trails of Excellence: 111 Total (3.307.40 bluebirds fledged per nest box) 7.40: Charlie Lautermilch & Bessie Kmiecik 4.56: Stephanie Haka 7.06: Craig & Laurie Bartholomew 4.55: Jim & Dorothy Beix 7.05: Will & Stephanie Purner 4.55: John Schubring 6.94: Fred Craig 4.53: David & Kelly Marwitz 6.85: Shel Hyatt 4.53: Helen Pugh 6.82: John Wiggert 4.52: Norman Byers 6.74: Bruce & Ruth Marion 4.52: Norman Romskog 6.73: Dick Marco 4.47: Rick & Sharon Rothman 6.66: Kathie Mitchell 4.45: Lowell Peterson 6.48: Harry & Ellen Caulum 4.41: James & Darlene Jakusz 6.21: Mike Helgren 4.39: James Barth 6.20: Lane Poulin 4.34: Mike Lyons 6.14: Joe Schultz 4.32: Doug Aziz 5.88: Dave & Patti Becker 4.30: Judy Lovaas 5.87: Maureen Brocken 4.29: Janet Kuyoth & Theresa Cartwright 5.81: Leif Marking 4.29: Clyde Park 5.73: Jan Brady 4.28: Kent Hall 5.58: Verdal Dawson 4.27: Steve Sample 5.55: Gordon Weber 4.24: Ruthann Meiers 5.48: Rosie Gotsch 4.24: Mike Padrutt 5.44: Sue Hall & Marilyn Laudon 4.18: Bob Tamm 5.30: Keith & Karen Solimar 4.10: Frank Zuern 5.29: Morgan Jostad 4.09: Don & Karen Harrelson 5.27: Dennis Kirschbaum 4.08: Mike Fort 5.26: Bill Clendenning & Shirley Klapperich 4.08: Ray Glew/Donald Park 5.24: Ed Kowalski 4.06: Kurt Kreitzer: Valley Trail RDF: WM 5.07: Dianne Chambers 5

4.05: Brian Doverspike & Becky Anderson 5.07: Darrell Eberhardt 4.04: Mary Jo Fleming: Chippewa Valley Master Gardeners 5.05: Larry Casper 3.97: Rob & Sandy Huber 5.00: Bill Balmer 3.97: Joe & Ricky Riederer 5.00: Paul Barrett 3.96: Pat Koblenz 5.00: Amanda Marco 3.92: Dave & Barb Tuchs 4.95: Paul Klawiter 3.90: Joanne DeVetter 4.95: Dick & Candy Knutson 3.87: Don Herrick 4.94: Brad & Jean Sherman 3.80: Charles Ustby 4.91: Dick Phillips 3.72: Jerry Schoen 4.91: Kent Stephan 3.71: Roy & Charlotte Lukes 4.89: Jan McGinness/Mirror Lake 4H Club 3.69: Tamela Frey 4.88: Bill & Jill Ziehr 3.65: Ellen Lafouge 4.85: Leif Tolokken & Scooter Green 3.63: Jill Hoffman 4.82: Rick & Brad Zinda 3.60: Melissa Bruder 4.77: Tim Knudson 3.59: Dave Fonger 4.75: Carol McDaniel 3.59: Vern & Emilie Weeks 4.73: Don Fabisiak 3.50: Greg Dahl 4.72: Iler Anderson 3.50: Delores Iliff 4.70: Gail Filzin 3.50: Ruth Schoenwetter 4.70: Colleen O’Brien 3.49: Don Pritzl 4.70: Brenda Spencer 3.44: Greg Harmon, Retzer Nature Center 4.66: Heidi Heitman/Arkansas Ele. School 3.42: Debbie Anderson 4.63: Dick & Karen Olsen 3.42: Tom Michelson 4.57: Bill & Jeanie Fruin 3.42: Paul & Nancy Willing 4.57: Gary & Connie Stout 3.38: Cathy Chybowski 4.56: Jim & Barb Gifford 3.38: Joan Schrinner 3.30: Claire Romanak Spring 2010

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TRAILS OF HONOR: 66 Total (2.0-3.29 bluebirds fledged per nest box) 3.27: Rick Fare 2.58: Jim & Marci Hess 3.26: Al Johnson (Mequon Country Club) 2.56: Walter Jost 3.25: Bob Fox 2.56: Jan Landowski 3.20: Dale & Doris Moody 2.54: Dave Farris 3.20: Kristine Vaughn 2.53: Curt & Arlys Caslavka 3.18: Rich & Carol Becker 2.50: Sheri Kastner 3.15: Pat Ready 2.46: Dan Bruemmer 3.10: Don Bartig 2.43: Lee Curtis 3.09: Marilynn Slezak & David Farris 2.43: Gerry Gerndt 3.09: Jenny Wenzel 2.43: Marianne Jensen (Gov. Nelson St. Park) 3.07: Nick Anderson 2.42: David Dees 3.06: Gary Gaard 2.38: Ray Palenik 3.00: Ed & Sandy Miller 2.35: Charles Bergsten 3.00: Al & Melody Ormund 2.33: Gene Birr 2.97: Linda Parrish 2.33: Sally Martin 2.96: Kip Jacobs 2.33: Susan Smith

2.95: Ken & Signe Onsrud 2.30: Andy & Nancy Esidor 2.93: Ellie Smith 2.30: Mark Hjortness 2.92: Mary Roen 2.30: David & Pauline Pray 2.87: Sylvia Marek (UW-Arboretum) 2.29: Mary Braatz 2.78: Cheryl Corbeille 2.27: Tom Pinkowski 2.75: Jan Ronchetto 2.27: Stan Rosenstiel 2.71: Sherman Griffin 2.26: Marvin Rohm 2.71: Dan Savin 2.25: Holly Bartholomai 2.70: Sam & Pam Campbell 2.24: Memuna Kahn (Ripon College) 2.70: Rich Dirks 2.23: Joan Sommer 2.70: Skip Hoffman 2.15: Rick Koziel (Eau Claire Bluebird Club) 2.69: Nancy Crawford 2.15: Steve Mayer (Crystal Springs Golf Course) 2.69: Chuck Stringer 2.12: Andy Chikowski (Badger Mining Corp.) 2.68: Rodger Meyer 2.05: Tom & Sue Beckett (Greenwood Hills CC) 2.63: Rodney Courtier 2.03: Karl Barkow 2.59: Terri Sprout 2.00: John Freeman 2.00: Tracy Swedlun (Medford HS)

BRAW Welcomes New Members!

By Sue Schultz John Meyer – Kenosha – New LIFE member Celi & Otto Jones – Oconomowoc – Gift from Emily & Christopher Jones Ric & Cathie Johnson – Fitchburg Storme Nelson – Sarona Gail Coombs – Sturtevant Peter Gustafson – Lowell, MI – Gift from Gerald & Donna Gerndt Wayne & Jackie – Madison – New LIFE member Andrew Struck – Port Washington – Gift from Ellen & JP Lafouge Diane Chambers – Hayward Wisconsin Bluebird

The “100 CLUB”: Trails with extraordinary commitment

By Kent Hall Each nest box monitored requires a specific time commitment from the monitor. Below are listed the reports that involved the monitoring of 100 or more nest boxes on the part of the respective monitors for the 2009 season. These efforts reflect an extraordinary time commitment and effort to support the BRAW goals of bluebird production & conservation. NAME Sherman Griffin Kent Hall Leif Marking Fred Craig Dave Fonger John Zeinert Bob Fox Iler Anderson

COUNTY Columbia; Green Lake; Marquette Portage & Wood LaCrosse LaCrosse LaCrosse Winnebago Waushara Burnett

BOX # 308 251 191 172 160 141 138 112

The “1,000 County Club”: Counties with extraordinary commitment to bluebird production by Kent Hall Only a very few counties in Wisconsin can claim to have fledged 1,000 birds in a season. The five that have done so are listed below. Both Waukesha and Door Counties have joined this prestigious list for the first time in 2009. Jackson Co., in 6th place with 967 fledglings and Dane County, in 7th place with 942 fledglings could easily join the 1,000 County Club in 2010. Counties LaCrosse Portage Monroe Waukesha Door

Bluebirds Bluebirds per Produced Nest Box 4224 807 3380 777 1896 341 1065 404 1023 445

Total Boxes 5.23 4.35 5.56 2.64 2.26

Total Monitors 31 35 10 23 65

John Dixon – Kansasville – New LIFE member Penny Fish – Sheboygan Nicki & Scott Warnkey – Random Lake - Changed to LIFE members John Adank – Onalaska Richard Stone – River Hills – New LIFE member BRAW Welcomes Donations! Dr. Timothy Freeman - $100 towards Trail Mary Lee Jacobs - $100 towards Trail Diane Lembck - $100 towwards Trail 6

Spring 2010

BRAW Monitor’s List for the 2009 Season, by County

By Kent Hall A total of 67 of 72 counties had monitoring reports last season, two more than last year. A total of 639 conservationists monitored boxes this season, up 141 from last season (+28%). Some counties involved data collection by an exceptional number of monitors. These included: Eau Claire: 68; Door: 65; Dane: 51; Portage: 39; LaCrosse: 31; Kenosha: 26; Sauk: 25; Waukesha: 23; Marathon: 22; Chippewa: 18; Racine: 16; Columbia: 15; Waupaca: 13; Ozaukee: 13; Dodge: 10; Monroe: 10; Oconto: 10 & Wood: 10. For those who find mistakes in the list of BRAW monitors below, please contact me and corrections will be placed in the Summer Issue of the WB. Adams(5): Myron Byers, Wayne Gjersvig, Rosie Gotsch, Marvin Phillippi & David Tuttle Ashland(2): Rich and Carol Becker Barron: None Bayfield (1): Scott Keena Brown(8): Jan Bittner, Joanne DeVetter, Andy Esidor, Nancy Esidor, Beverly Greunke, Terri Sprout, Terri Welisek & Cathy Welter Buffalo(3): Scooter Green, Heidi Heitman & Leif Tolokken Burnett(1): Iler Anderson Calumet: None Chippewa(18): Debbie Anderson, Darlene Brain, Mary Jo Fleming, Laura Franta, Laurie Hurt, Ann Neidhold, Paul Nicolai, Jen Polnaszek, Christy Roshell, Lee Sault, Deb Smith, Sandra Stiles, Dick Turner, Vern & Emilie Weeks, Rhonda Whitley, Herb & Kathy Winter Clark(2): Dave Farris & Marilyn Slezak Columbia(15 ): Becky Anderson, Laurie Armstrong, Judy Benade, Brian Doverspike, Sherm Griffin, Bill Grogan, Donald Jackson, Richard & Candy Knutson, Ruth Ann Lee, Mark & Sue Martin, Mark & Jenny McGinley & Brand Smith Crawford(4): Steve Anderson, Dennis Wisconsin Bluebird

Kirschbaum, Martin Murphy & Lane Poulin. Dane(51 ): Richard Birkhauser, Terri Bleck, Curt & Arlys Caslavka, Doria Dahl, Larry Dickerson, Pamela Duszynski, Jim Fitzpatrick, Gary Gaard, Jessica Gado, Rita Garczynski, Steve & Aimee Gauger, Ray Glew, Chris Gutzmer, Barb Hartman, Pam & Craig Heilman, Marilee Hoddinott, Mark Horn, Marianne Jensen, Dick & Sally Keyel, Harry Kuehn, Mary Lalley, David Lucey, Susan Ludington, Lynda Lynch, Sylvia Marek, Peg Michel, Mike Padrutt, Nolan Pope, Mark Pepoy, Pat Ready, Jeremy Roe, Steve Sample, Phil Schleicher, Ruth Schoenwetter, Don Schmidt, John Shaw, Greg Shirek, Jenny Sievert, Jim Stitch, Ann Stratton, Gail Vanharen, Kristine Vaughn, Tom Umhoefer, Gloria Welniak, Deb Wirth, Eugene Woehler & Carole Ziglin. Dodge(10): Jack & Holly Bartholomai, Debra & Kathleen Finnessy, Heather Granholz, Diane Haberman, John & Joan Liechty, Mike Lyons & Jack Ulrich Door(65): Nick Anderson, Dan & Marjorie Andreae, Jim & Pat Arnold, Susan Basten, Lee & Anne Blahnik, Ray Bowers, Laurie Buske, Victoria Cerinich, Gary Chaudoir, Rich Dirks, Sandy Feaval, Ed Fenendael, Hilary Ford, Emelie Franke, Lloyd Gerritts, Marilyn Hansotia, Mark Holey, Karl & Lyn Huber, Barb Jacobs, Dennis Jensen, Ron Klimaitis, Karl Klug, Conrad Kretzmann, Kayval Larson, Carrie Link, Roy & Charlotte Lukes, Wendy Lukes, Paul & Leona Lynse, Mike & Barb Madden, Neil & Pat McCarty, Tom Michelsen, Ed & Sandy Miller, Greg Mox, Richard Mueller, Ken & Sigrud Onsrud, Ray Osinski, Kaylin Peterson, Shirley Rosenquist, James & Mary Rutter, Mike Schneider, Carl Scholz, Joyce Schranz, Bernice & Dean Shumway, Ben Teich, Bob & Barbara Tidball, Dave & Barb Tuch, Frank & Carol Weber, Jack & Jane Weis & Eric Wicksrom Douglas(1): Charles Bergsten Dunn(3): Sam & Pam Campbell, Terry Glanzman & Heidi Heitman Eau Claire(68): Tracy Adkins, Lenny & Gwen Anderson, Natalie Bachmeier, Andrew & Melissa BairdLocke, Madeline Behling, Rich & 7

Tracey Belmont, Tom Berg, Roger & Maryann Biesterveld, Bill & Dawn Cunningham, Avery Eisenhuth, Gerald & Betty Fenski, Marianna Gilbertson, Terry Glanzman, Katie Hayes, Jeff & Laura Hartman, Bill & Erica Frahm-Hunter, Pat & Bill Henke, Dave & Lanette Hesse, Sarah Liming, Joshua & Jessica Miller, Bryan Misener, Anastasio Myers, Jody Metz, Erik & Nicole Multhauf, Hope Naples, Kayla Neff, Dave & Sandy Nelson, Chris Nohelty, John Norby, Jose & Zaida Ortiz, Randy & Laura Pitan, Megan Pokrandt, Scott Robinson, Paige, Sammi & Brooke Ross, Alexis Schaffer, Kelly Semerad, Dan, Beth, TJ & Sam Slavko, Scott & Krista Smith, Channa Steinmetz, Chuck & Dianne Terry, Jesse & Casie Thompson, Rick & Shelly Volk, Carlee Jo Vonderheid, Isaac Wolfe Florence(1): Nancy Crawford Fond du Lac(6): Vanessa Arboleda, Memuna Khan, Missy Meierhofer, Michael Morgan, Lawrence Vine & Terry Welisek Forest: None Grant(1): Michael Padrutt Green(6): Linda Alger, Paul Barrett, Rodney Courtier, Bev Deininger, Kathleen Dreikosen & Chuck Sasso Green Lake(6): Sherm Griffin, Kurt Kietzer, Jan Landowski, David & Kelly Marwitz & Jeff Pinnow Iowa(6): Judy Lovaas, Dale & Doris Moody, Colleen O’Brien, Helen Pugh & Pat Ready Iron(1): Janice Borth Jackson(8): Larry Casper, Andy Chikowski, Darrel Eberhardt, Dolores Iliff, Darlene Neisner, Joan Schrinner, Steve & Sue Schuelke Jefferson(8): Tamela Frey, Carol Gilbert, Jim Goodnow, John & Patricia Heiden, Jim & Mary Nelson & Jerry Schoen Juneau(2): Kelly Rueckheim & Pat Koblenz Kenosha(26): Joyce Anderson, Marilyn Anderson, John Dixon, Mark Gallun, Ron Gallun, Ellen Granberg, Rick Granberg, Skip & Jill Hoffman, Maureen Kauffman, John Krerowicz, Tom Lajiness, Joyce Levandowski, Edna Lowe, Lester Lowe, John R. Meyer, Cory Nelson, Paula Nolte, Al & Melody Orban, Ray Palenik, Stan Rosenstiel, Ellie Smith, Larry Stevens, continued on next page Spring 2010

(continued from page 7)

Ruth Stevens & John Worrell Kewaunee(1): Don Pritzl LaCrosse(31): Art Brieske, Dan Bruemmer, Harry & Ellen Caulum, Fred Craig, Verdel Dawson, Jack & Joyce Ebert, Dave Fonger, Gail Filzin, Brad Foss, Jerry Guente, Lloyd Hoff, Morgan Jostad, Tim Knudson, John Leary, Amanda Marco, Dick Marco, Leif Marking, Robert Owens, Ron Page, Kent Stephan, Gordon Romskog, Jean Ruhser, Mary Strasser, Kent Stephan, Pete & Marie Tabor, Charles Ustby, John Wetzel & John Wiggert Lafayette(6): James Barth, Jim & Marci Hess, Carol McDaniel, Dale & Doris Moody Langlade(1): Clyde Park Lincoln(1): Jim Blankenheim Manitowoc(6): Bill Braun, Charlie Geiger, Eric Hill, Kurt Kietzer, Nancy Smith, Duane Zabel Marathon(22): Doug Aziz, Tom & Sue Beckett, Theresa Cartwright, David Dees, Carl Drake, Chuck & Kathy Garvey, Leander Krieg, Janet Kuyoth, Bill & Mary Mahony, Sue and Jim Meseberg, Pat & Kay Meyer, Thomas Peterson, Marvin Rohm, Claire Romanak, Keith & Jenneane Smith & Jolie Wood Marinette(3): Nancy Crawford, Edward Kowalski, Frank Zuern Marquette (2): Sherm Griffin & Jeff Hopkins Menominee: None Milwaukee(2): Kip Jacobs & Ellen Lafouge Monroe(10): Bill Balmer, Craig & Laurie Bartholomew, Mike Helgren, Shel Hyatt, Bessie Kmiecik, Charlie Lautermilch, Kathie Mitchell, Linda Parrish & Gordon Weber Oconto(10): Louis Bath, Gene Birr, Don & Carol Butrymowicz, Jerry Gerndt, Richard Poquette, J.B. Shicks, Nicole Shutt, Roger Weber & Heather Zimmer Oneida: None Outagamie(8): Steve Beuchel, Cheryl Schueler Corbeille, Steve Meyer, Mike O’Connell, Dan Rettler, Steve Schleitwiler, Sandy Vandervelden, Todd Ward Ozaukee(13): Richard Albert, Medhavi Ambardar, Norman Baese Jagow, Cathy Cullen, Kristin Gies, Wisconsin Bluebird

Mary Hollebeck, Al Johnson, Ellen Lafouge, Jerry Panella, Jim Schoenike, Joan Sommer, Barry Thompson, Renate Witt Pepin(3): Terry Glanzman, Heidi Heitman, Toni Pinkowski Pierce(4): Jim & Dorothy Beix, Carol forsythe, Ernie Schultz Polk(2): Julie Fox & Rodger Meyer Portage(39): Doug Aziz, David & Patti Becker, Mary Bratz, Maureen Brocken, Greg Dahl, Don Fabisiak, Jim & Barb Gifford, Stephanie Haka, Kent Hall, Sue Hall, Rob & Sandy Huber, Laurie Keen, Jim & Darlene Jakusz, Bob & Louise Juracka, Marilyn Laudon, Jim & Carrie Maloney, Dick & Karen Olsen, David & Pauline Pray, Joe & Ricky Riederer, Marv Rohm, Jan Ronchetto, Rick & Sharon Rothman, Joe Schultz, Pat & Toni Wanserski, Bill & Jill Ziehr, Rick & Brad Zinda Price(1): Jerry Veverka Racine(16): Rick Fare, Mark Hortness, Nancy & Don Jobe, Keith Kennedy, Al & Melody Orban, Juanita Patterson, Helen Pugh, John Raymond, Greg & Ann Shea, Bob Tamm, Jenny Wenzel & Paul & Nancy Willing Richland(1): Paul Klawiter Rock(8): Rodney Courtier, Bill & Jeanie Fruin, Jack Freeman, John Freeman, Michael Johnson, Jerry Schoen, Mark Young Rusk(3): Don Bartig & Don & Karen Haralson Sauk(25): Jane Furchgott, Wayne Gjersvig, Shannon, Dylan, Jarrett & Desiree Howley; Sophia, Chloe, Andrew, Carrie & Dale Johnson; Mark, Barb & Eugene Keding; Neah Lohr; Bruce & Ruth Marion, Ted, T.J. & Jan McGinnis, Erik, Holly & Ben Olson; John Schubring & William Turnipseed Sawyer(1): Diane Chambers Shawano(5): Carl Barkow, Ashley Engel, Al & Ruthann Meiers & Donna Svetmicka Sheboygan(13): Dick Burchinal, Ann Casarez, Lee Curtis, Debbie Dedering,, Gene Eckardt, Wehrle Ford, Jeff Freye, Armin Graefe, Andy Holschbach, Sheila Kamprath, David Kuckuk, June Platz & Bev Rawling & Dick Siech St. Croix(7): Jim & Dorothy Beix, Lowell Peterson, Mary Roen, Keith & Karen Solimar, Debby Walters 8

Taylor(6): Cathy Mauer, Mary Noonan, Scott Roepke, Claire Romanak, Joe Scott &Tracy Swedlund Trempealeau(4): Jan Brady, Greg Marco, Dick Phillips, Leif Tolokken Vernon(2): Will & Stephanie Purner Vilas(1): Bob Butzer Walworth(3): Thomas Ganfield, Mariette Nowak & Jerry Schoen Washburn(1): Storme Nelson Washington(7): Jean Hamilton, Kip Jacobs, Dennis Loeffler, Arthur Melius, Tom Schaefer, Lora Schreiber & Tim Stoffel Waukesha(23): Jerome Anderson, Melissa Bruder, Cathy Chybowski, Keith Fiend, Mike Fort, Jerry Gerndt, Greg Harmon, Don Herrick, John & Patricia Heiden, Walter Jost, Angela Kollman, Paul & Ilene Kronschnabel, Ellen Krzyton, Glee Leet, Steve Meyer, Anne Moretti, Grace Rupinski, Dan Savin, Steve Schultz, Doug Seyfert & Bob Tamm Waupaca(13): Robert & Deb Benada, Steve Petznick, Joshua & Jennifer Reitz, Ginny Rieves, Daniel Schultz, Frank & Barbara Schubert, Brad & Jean Sherman, Susan Smith & Chuck Stringer Waushara(4): Bob Fox, Mark Martin, Sally Martin & Joe Raboin, Winnebago(7): Kate Anderson, Steve Beuchel, Gerald Breuer, William A. Carpenter, Roger Jaeger, Kay Lattau, & John Zeinert Wood(10): Bill Clendenning, Kent Hall, Don & Karen Haralson, Shirley Klapperich, Marvin Rohm, Brenda Spencer, Gary & Connie Stout & Dave Thiel,

Bluebird info – Spring 2010

Door County Bluebirds

By Charlotte Lukes Photos by Roy Lukes We put up our first bluebird nest boxes in 1978 after buying land in the center of northern Door County. The only occupants for the next five years were tree swallows. In 1982 a quarter mile of electric line was brought in as house building began. By 1983 we had bluebirds in some of the boxes. Roy mowed a wide walking path around our 5 acre field and the bluebirds had power lines on which to perch as they hunted insects in the short grass. During the previous ten years we lived in the Rangelight Residence at The Ridges Sanctuary in Baileys Harbor. Many cardinals came to the feeders but we never saw any bluebirds in the area. We lived within 1,000 feet of the Lake Michigan shore so tree swallows were the more common box-nesting birds. We learned about BRAW in 1991 and joined the group but did not attend annual meetings until about 2000. In 2005 we began to enlarge our bluebird trail from 5 to 12 boxes. As we learned more about the bluebird’s preferred habitats we asked local landowners and farmers for permission to set boxes at the edges of fields near mowed roadsides. It appeared that locations with electric lines overhead and some big trees in range for fledglings’ first flight had more bluebirds. We attended the 2006 BRAW annual meeting and volunteered to be Door County coordinators. Roy has written weekly natural history columns for local newspapers since 1968 so we had a connection with county residents. Early in 2007 we presented free programs in Sturgeon Bay and Ellison Bay to educate interested people on building nest boxes and maintaining a bluebird trail. Roy wrote newspaper stories about these subjects and we developed an email list of Door County Bluebird Club members. We encouraged people to join BRAW to learn more about past successes and failures with bluebird trails. Roy & I realized that there was so much to learn, or, as Kent Hall frequently Wisconsin Bluebird

Newly hatched baby bluebirds with one egg just starting to be opened. The K-style box makes counting the eggs & young so much easier than side opening, and it is nice for photographing, too.

Bottom mount conduit method used by Roy.

Roy’s new K-style box bottom and with the two openings shown.

says, to think like a bluebird. Kent was kind enough to come to Door County in late August 2007 to review several larger trails and give advice to the people for improvements. He also gave a talk in the evening at our church fellowship hall to an enthusiastic audience. By 2008 we expanded our bluebird trail to 50 boxes. We felt it was important as county coordinators to set a good example for others to follow. 9

Monthly email communication with trail monitors continued through the season. We visited people to help with nest box problems and find the best possible sites for bluebird success. Weekly monitoring was stressed as was filling out the season end Form 21 and submitting it to BRAW. Nest boxes used in Door County were the K-style, NABS and Peterson. We liked the top-opening style for easy quick monitoring, but found this box hard to clean out. After a few years Roy developed a K-style box with a double-thickness bottom which was mounted on top of the conduit pole and had the top opening for monitoring and also a side opening for easy cleaning. The wood used was full inch thick cedar and made the boxes cooler on hot summer days and a bit more insulated and warmer during cool spring weather. In the early spring of 2008 Kent & Sue Hall came to Sturgeon Bay to present a bluebird nest box program. It was well-received and brought more members to BRAW and gave encouragement to many people to start their own bluebird trails. Here is a brief summary of our first three years as Door County coordinators. For 2007 we had 43 trails with 58 monitors and 255 boxes resulting in 730 bluebirds, 250 tree swallows, 90 house wrens and 6 black-capped chickadees. In 2008 there were 48 trails with 64 monitors and 411 nest boxes resulting in 876 bluebirds, 434 tree swallows, 245 house wrens and 7 black-capped chickadees. In 2009 we had 49 trails with 67 monitors giving a total of 1023 bluebirds, 567 tree swallows, 287 house wrens and 29 blackcapped chickadees. There were 77 trails over the past three years with 101 monitors, but some people have moved away and others quit due to health or age problems. There were 20 trails that the 23 monitors only reported for one year. We have 20 trails with 31 monitors who have reported all three years and five of these trails have substantially increased their numbers of boxes. In 2009 we had 13 new trails with 17 new monitors submitting reports. State records were set for 2009 with continued on page 23 Spring 2010

Two Hundred Bluebird Houses For Wisconsin

the side panels about 1/2 inch can do this. Then, on occasion, the monitor may choose to open the side panel the opposite direction for ease of checking. This can also be accomplished with this box plan by simply removing two screws from the non-swinging side and placing them to secure the previous swinging side. These useful options are convenient only if the screws are accurately placed and the material is drilled to prevent cracking when the screws are driven. We made jigs and used drill presses to ensure that screws are accurately placed and vertical to the plane (see illustration). Construction of the convertible house perhaps takes a few more minutes and requires jigs and more skill to ensure placement accuracy, but the flexibility of the convertible house offers convenience to monitors and comfort and temperature protection for our precious bluebird eggs and fledglings. Structural dimensions of this NABS- style box offer certain advantages with the oval entry and toe-hold kerfs’ for the adults, the adequate nest space for six or more eggs, and space for resulting young bluebirds to grow to healthy fledglings. The placement of the entry 1- 1/4 inch from the roof provides an attic space like in human dwellings to create air insulation against cold and heat. Then by venting this attic, when necessary, the warmer air is exhausted upward to decrease internal temperatures for comfort and perhaps survival during critical heat cycles. The roof slopes ten degrees towards the front and extends three inches over the entry to adequately protect the interior from most weather events. Nesting bluebirds are readily attracted to these houses provided they are placed in quality bluebird habitat.

By Leif Marking The Madison Garden Expo has become a very successful annual event for BRAW to display and promote our bluebird activities. Hundreds of people pass through our display area, attend the illustrated presentations by Kent

Hall and Pat Ready, learn the latest bluebird technology by talking to members, and perhaps buy a quality bluebird house to help and enjoy these remarkable blue creatures. The sale of these houses provides our organization with funding to start new bluebird trails throughout Wisconsin, train and stimulate potential monitors to sustain these trails, and educate monitors to report accurate data so Wisconsin can be recognized as the “Top State” in bluebird production. Fred Craig and myself were again asked to construct the boxes of cedar lumber purchased by BRAW for the Garden Expo and other sales opportunities. The lumber is 7/8inch thick and rough- sawed on one side to offer a natural appearance in the environment. Wood screws were used to secure the side panels and automatic nailers were used to fasten the tops and bottoms. We chose to build the convertible NABS-style house to offer the option of venting on-site later in summer if temperatures rise to threatening levels. Simply lowering

Wisconsin Bluebird

They Fledged – Now What? By Jim Beix, Pierce County Coordinator

When songbirds fledge they eventually have to learn to survive on their own. No longer protected in a hidden nest, they are vulnerable to predators and starvation. Little is known about passerine fledglings and juvenile life history because they are difficult to find once they leave the nest. Some researchers are beginning to use electronic monitors on nestlings ready to fledge. In some species, only 50% of songbird fledglings reach juvenile development wherein they can fly well and fend for their own food needs. Eastern bluebirds, like other cavity nesters, have a longer nesting period than open-cup nesting passerines. Fledging 16-18 days after hatching allows extra days of development promoting greater physical condition. If ample food is provided the nestlings, this energy provides for tissue maturation and activity to develop flight muscles. Cavity nesters fly fairly well on fledging. Each day longer in the nest is a bonus for growth and development. When fledging, the eastern bluebirds launch themselves from the nesting cavity/box and attempt to reach a perch, 15-30 meters away (Sialia Sialis, Janet Sullivan, 1995). Some 10

Spring 2010

Pat Ready

maiden flights are unusually impressive, several hundred meters (Gowaty, personal commun.March 09). Less strong birds may struggle to get to a perch. The bluebirds then try to make it to cover (wooded area) where they can better avoid predation and be fed by the parents. The fledglings tend to stay together and roost in a group at night. Birds unfortunate enough to land on the ground try to make their way to cover and join up. A healthy, strong fledgling can regain altitude after landing on the ground and make it to a shrub or tree. Cats, raccoons and aerial predators continue to be a threat. Both parents feed the fledglings until about 10-14 days later when the female parent starts to build a new nest. The male continues to feed the fledglings and teaches them to forage. The male helps feed the new hatch of the next clutch also. The fledglings remain hidden in trees, not moving around much (Plissner). As flight skills develop the fledglings learn how to drop from a perch to catch insects/larva at or near ground level. Fly catching and foliage gleaning are other feeding techniques learned. Three weeks after fledging the young blue birds are beginning to find their own food. They stop begging for food and begin self-feeding and foraging. Living independently they are now called juveniles, 5 weeks post-fledging. Some of the young bluebirds disperse once they can care for themselves. They find new territory and no longer stay near siblings. They will be seen in the Fall, flocking with other eastern bluebirds. Several reports have stated that juvenile eastern bluebirds may stay around the new nest and help feed the next brood. This is uncommon. (Gowaty,Plissner, 1998). Benedict Pinkowski at Wayne State doing a 10 year study on eastern blue bird survival, found 82% live from fledgling to independence; 33% survive from independence to the next breeding season. Migration takes a large toll on young birds. Jon Plissner studied 1121 eastern blue bird fledglings in South Carolina for 4 years, 1987-1990, and found 70% of birds fledged survived 20 days. . The percentage of young surviving declined with the size of the broods with 80% of single fledglings making it to independence. Less than 60% of broods with 6 birds survived. Presumably the smaller brood means less competition in the nest, more feeding and greater development for the nestling. He found the fledglings peered out of the cavity/box hole some time before fledging, maybe identifying a destination. Hedgerows and woodlots were the best cover for fledgling survival. One wonders about the advisability of having a bush or shrub a short distance from the nest box hole for the young Wisconsin Bluebird

birds to land on. But nearby bushes and brush attract wrens which can jeopardize the whole brood. A desired perch in tree or shrub should be at least 100 feet away from the nest box. When building our bluebird trails, one can direct the nest box hole toward a favorable, fairly distant perch site and away from barren fields , nearby road or water. The trail monitor should take care in opening the box after day 12 as it could cause premature fledging. In eastern bluebird conservation, choosing good habitat for a nest box is a prime consideration. If weather, food availability and avoiding predation allow for a well nourished brood that can stay in the nest 16-18 days, we can hope that the bluebird parents can provide for the continued development of their fledglings toward independence and juvenile status.

Chickadees and Bluebirds Make Nice

The second joint box I would not have believed had I not watched the birds for lengthy periods of time on multiple occasions. This time the box was occupied first by a bluebird that built a standard nest and laid two eggs, after which a chickadee moved in. The bluebird eggs were underneath some mossy material and pushed off to the side of the chickadee clutch which was small at 5 eggs. For several checks, I saw only chickadee adults. Then, when the eggs hatched, one of the bluebird eggs also hatched, so the box contained one bluebird hatchling and 4 chickadee hatchlings. From then on I observed something I have never seen before—both adult chickadees and bluebirds bringing food to the nestlings. One day I watch astonished for 45 minutes as the species would alternate entering the box. I have never encountered such cooperation before. Again, those 5 mixed nestlings all stayed healthy and fledged. 11

Spring 2010

Pat Ready

By Linda Parrish, Kendall in Monroe Co. I had two boxes this year in which bluebirds and chickadees were raised at the same time, and one of them still has me shaking my head. The less unusual situation was one where a chickadee built the skimpiest of moss nests and laid one egg. A bluebird moved in and managed to incorporate the chickadee egg in the nest. The egg hatched along with the subsequently laid bluebird eggs and checking the box became highly entertaining. The lone chickadee rapidly fell behind in size, but would scurry frantically and noisily around over the heads of its more calm nest mates—mouth open begging for food-- always seemed healthy and fledged with the bluebirds.

Woodpecker Habitat Project

Dale Moody, Iowa County Coordinator Doris and I actively monitor 88 bluebird houses on our Iowa Co. property and have been doing so for several years. (We also monitor 10 houses on property in LaFayette Co. that was developed w/USFWS Partners Program). We are active in BRAW and serve as Co. Coordinators for Iowa Co. We keep quite extensive records of bluebirds as well as other songbird species and submit survey summaries to BRAW at the end of each nesting season. While attending this years annual meeting at the Kickapoo Reserve on Sept. 19, we heard Rick King, the refuge biologist at Necedah speak on “The Restoration of Red-headed Woodpeckers at NNWR.” Among other things, his data showed that Red Headed woodpeckers plus other songbirds including bluebirds density increased with successive burns in the project area. My observation on

2,197 Songbirds Fledged in 2009

By Mark and Sue Martin and Pat Ready Thanks to over 25 volunteers, 2,197 songbirds fledged from 23 Madison Audubon Society nest box trails. Two new trails were added and nest box numbers increased from 329 to 453. These numbers do not include Tree Swallow boxes at Faville Grove Sanctuary that are cleaned out at the end of the nesting season. Last year 1,574 birds fledged from 329 nest boxes. Twelve of the trails are in ideal Eastern Bluebird habitat and overall 860 bluebirds fledged. Richard Knutsen’s trail at the DNR’s Poynette Game Farm produced a record of 208 bluebirds or 5 per nest box. Brian Doverspike and Becky Anderson also had four bluebirds per box on a trail at the Unimin property near Portage. One bird box was used by a family of flying squirrels that raised three young. Unlike last year, Brian and Wisconsin Bluebird

Year Total BB Fledged BB Fledged/house BB #70-#75 BB F/H #70-75 2009










2007 +















----- 2002





our property was that the 5 BB houses located at the base of the proposed project area were some of our most productive houses (#70-#75). The lower part of this project was cleared as part of a WHIP project 8-10 years ago (est.) (Andy Walsh-NRCS, Iowa Co.). We had been burning the lower part of this project and started burning both the prairie and the woods 4-5 years ago to try to control re-sprout of buckthorn and autumn olive that we had cleared from most of the area. I dug a bit deeper into our

data and compiled the following. Bluebird productivity at 3 fledging/ house is “good” but 5 or more is considered excellent. The habitat for houses #71-75 must really be excellent.

Becky did not have any problems with black bears destroying nest boxes. Curt and Arlys Caslvaka monitored a trail at the Pope Farm Park west of Middleton. Mara McDonald from UW-Madison placed color bands on all the bluebirds and about half of the Tree Swallows. The plan is to band birds for two more years to help determine site fidelity and return rates. Nine trails are in ideal Tree Swallow habitat. At Goose Pond there were problems with raccoon predation on three of the five trails with high predation on 28 nest boxes that Laurie Armstrong monitors. Our guess is that when a raccoon learns that nest boxes contain eggs/young they check all boxes they find. Laurie’s 28 boxes east of Goose Pond Road had 17 Tree Swallows fledge while 16 boxes west of Goose Pond Road monitored by Mark and Sue had 72 Tree Swallows fledge. This year we added PVC to the pipes but still had predation problems and now we are checking into other types of predator guards. Jim Goodno checked 60 Tree

Swallow and 60 Wood Duck boxes at Zeloski Marsh (part of the Lake Mills State Wildlife Area) that provides excellent swallow and Wood Duck habitat. Two boxes were placed back to back on each post. Jim found 59 Tree Swallow nests in the swallow boxes and 8 swallow nests in Wood Duck boxes. Sally and Dick Keyel with assistance from Kent Hall (Mr. Bluebird) monitored a new 28 box trail at the Sun Prairie Golf Course. They enjoyed checking the boxes from a golf cart and golfers enjoyed seeing bluebirds and looked forward to seeing the Keyels doing their weekly checks. Sally and Dick moved some boxes to avoid House Sparrow problems but ended up fledging 111 songbirds.


+Trappers took lots of raccoons and opossum during the fall of 2006 and we had minimum predator raiding of houses in 2007. ++We monitor for other songbirds but since they did not use the 5 houses at the base of the project area, I did not include them in the stats.

Thanks again to Jerry Martin who made and donated 103 high-quality, cedar nest boxes. Also thanks to Kent Hall, director with the Bluebird Restoration Association of Wisconsin, who again provided assistance with our bird trails. Spring 2010

LCBS Has a Successful Year

The members of the Lafayette County Bluebird Society in southwest Wisconsin have been fledging bluebirds for 28 years. This year, a special effort was made to report the number of bluebirds fledged to the Society’s President Carol McDaniel via email. As a result, 545 bluebirds were reported from seven different trails in the county: the Hess Trail, Klenke Trail, McDaniel Trail, HTH Trail, Lindell Trail, Hill Trail, Fever River Trail, and the Yellowstone Lake State Park Trail. Three of the trails are highlighted in the following report. The Fever River Bluebird Trail located in the New Diggings and Benton area is managed by long time BRAW member Jim “Hatch” Barth and his friend Heather Morrisard. Once each week they monitor the trail that consists of 69 nestboxes. Hatch checks the boxes and Heather keeps the records. The rural setting of pasture and savannah landscape is perfect for attracting the desirable Eastern Bluebird. His trail consists of mostly wooden nestboxes along with some PVCs. Hatch feels his successful trail is partly due to the PVC box he uses; as it seems to discourage House Sparrows. He also uses cone predator guards on all of his boxes to deter mice, ants, raccoons and cats. A total of 303 bluebirds fledged from the Fever River Bluebird Trail during the 2009 nesting season.

LCBS President Carol McDaniel and Velma Klenke managed the Yellowstone Lake State Park Bluebird Trail that is located near Blanchardville, WI. The bluebird trail was created by LCBS member Joe O’Halloran a few years ago. It consisted of a mixture of nestbox styles that were placed in and around the park. Along with the Peterson and PVC styles, he added his own design, the “Simple” box. After Joe passed away, the trail was abandoned for a few years. This year the LCBS took on the project of maintaining the trail and they added boxes to the park’s prairie. Some years ago, LCBS member Steve Hubner worked with the park management to reestablish a large prairie on the property. This open prairie is ideal habitat for bluebirds. Last spring, Carol and Steve erected 12 Simple boxes over the rolling terrain. Within weeks, all but two of the twelve boxes were occupied by bluebirds. During the nesting season, Tree Swallows and House Wrens nested in a few of the boxes. By the end of the season, 124 bluebirds fledged from the trail that totals 30 nestboxes. Recently, the Society designated the Simple box as the official bluebird nestbox of the Society and placed it on its logo. The boxes are built by LCBS member Steve Seffrood.

Steve is shown here in his shop next to the Simple boxes he builds for the Lafayette County Bluebird Society.

Hatch Barth is shown here using a battery powered screwdriver to open one of his PVC boxes. Screwing the top on discourages curious passersbys from opening the box.

The Klenke Trail is located within the city limits of Darlington. Velma Klenke placed some of the boxes in local cemeteries next to the graves of deceased members of the society. In no time, she had bluebirds in the boxes, and successfully fledged several bluebird young. In the spring, she plans to get permission to place more boxes in the cemeteries. The photo shows Velma monitoring one of the nestboxes.

The Fever River Trail boxes have cone shaped predator guards to help keep mice, ants, raccoons, and cats from molesting the nestboxes.

The members of the LCBS are looking forward to the spring of 2010. They are planning a spring workshop on April 17th from 2:00-5:00 at the Darlington Elementary Wisconsin Bluebird


Spring 2010

BRAW County Coordinators List Renewed

By Joe Schultz In late October, 2009, the BRAW BOD approved a new policy for BRAW County Coordinators (CC’s, see below). All CC’s were sent letters to inform them of this new policy. They had the option of renewing their CC positions, if eligible, or renewing their positions on a temporary status until they completed their eligibility or decline to renew their CC positions. In addition, about 15 persons were identified from the Operation Top State initiative and were contacted to see if they were interested in becoming CC’s. The result is a list of 52 CC’s representing 52 counties (some represent more than one county and some counties are represented by more than one person). I am very excited about this list of CC’s. In the years that I have been Director of this program, I think this is one of the most motivated groups of people with which I have had the pleasure to communicate. You will note that 20 counties still do not have any CC’s and 7 counties are served by the same CC’s (Racine/ Kenosha; Milwaukee/Ozaukee & Monroe/Wood & Waupaca). That ADAMS Myron Byers 393 Gale Dr. Wisc. Dells 53965 (608) 586-4833 ASHLAND No Appointee BARRON No Appointee BAYFIELD No Appointee BROWN Joanne DeVetter 3759 Spring Green Rd. Green Bay 54313 (920) 434-9986 BUFFALO No Appointee BURNETT Iler Anderson 27302 Hill Rd.

Wisconsin Bluebird

means we can still use more County Coordinators. Anyone that would consider helping in any county should contact me by email (joeschultz54@ ) or by phone (715) 3415521. Each year I will send information sheets out to all CC’s to inform them of their eligibility status and to see if they are interested in continuing as CC’s. Thanks to all of the past, present and new coordinators. With you, bluebirds and other native nesting songbirds are in good shape. *Eligibility & Responsibilities of BRAW County Coordinators I.


A. Membership in BRAW B. Personally monitor or supervise the monitoring of a bluebird trail totaling at least 20 nest boxes C. Monitor nest boxes using management techniques developed and recommended by BRAW in the Informational Packet. Monitoring includes raising all cavity nesting songbirds that inhabit your nest boxes (wrens, chickadees & Tree Swallows in addition to bluebirds). D. Send in data to the Data Collection Coordinator each season on the BRAW BOD-approved, Form 21

Spooner 54801 (715) 635-4534 CALUMENT No Appointee CHIPPEWA Debbie Anderson 19454 Co. Hwy. O Cadott 54727 (715) 382-4639 CLARK Dennis Owens N4327 Witte Ave. Neillsville 54456 (715) 743-4477 COLUMBIA Dick Knutson 203 Paquette Dr. Poynette 53955 (608) 635-2577

CRAWFORD Lane Poulin 44045 Wheatville Gays Mills 54631 (608) 872-2156 DANE Patrick Ready 1210 Oakwood Ct. Stoughton 53589 (608) 873-1703 DODGE Jack Bartholmai N7229 Hickory Sp.Rd. Beaver Dam 53916 (920) 887-1505 DOUGLAS Charles Bergsten 10724 E USHWY 2 Poplar 54864 (715) 364-2679 14

# At the end of each year, membership lists and data reports will be reviewed. Those persons not meeting the above criteria will be automatically dropped as BRAW County Coordinators and will be so-informed in writing. II. In addition to basic eligibility for appointment as a County Coordinator, the following activities are highly recommended. A. Actively recruit other monitors (invite potential monitors into the field to help you monitor nest boxes and offer them a chance to develop a bluebird trail of their own). B. Locate sites for new bluebird trails (golf courses; parks; roadsides) C. Organize annual workshops to promote an interest in BRAW and recruit monitors (The BRAW BOD can provide speakers for and help organize these workshops) D. Answer questions about bluebirds from the general public that might be directed your way E. Attend the Annual State Convention * Approved: October, 2009 DOOR Roy/Charlotte Lukes 3962 Hillside Rd. Egg Harbor 54209 (920) 823-2478 DUNN No Appointee EAU CLAIRE No Appointee FLORENCE Nancy Crawford P.O. Box 134 Iron Mountain, MI 49801 (906) 774-0768 FOND DU LAC No Appointee FOREST No Appointee GRANT

Alvin J. Bontreger P.O. Box 100 Beetown, WI 53802 608) 794-2212 GREEN Kathleen Dreikosen N. 3474 Hwy. 69 Monroe 53566 (608) 214-0810 GREEN LAKE Sherm Griffin 605 Co. Hwy. FF Dalton 53926 (920) 394-3244 IOWA Dale & Doris Moody 6564 Kimberly Way DeForest 53532 (608) 846-5024 IRON No Appointee

Spring 2010

JACKSON Joan & Russ Schrinner P.O. Box 14 Melrose 54642 (608) 488-6891 JEFFERSON No Appointee JUNEAU Pat Koblenz W4783 26th St. East Necedah 54646 (608) 565-7490 KENOSHA Rick Fare 810 Indiana Racine 53405 (262) 632-7585 Helen Pugh 17 Redwing LN Racine 53402 (262) 308-6419 KEWAUNEE Don Pritzl N5766 Birchwood Ln Luxemburg 54217 (920) 845-2436 LACROSSE Leif Marking W7917 CTHWY ZB Onalaska 54650 (680) 781 -0323 LAFAYETTE Carol McDaniel 14953 Hwy. 23 Darlington 53530 (608) 776-3379 LANGLADE No Appointee LINCOLN No Appointee MANITOWOC No Appointee MARATHON Claire Romanak 7175 Nehrbass Rd. Athens 54411 (715) 257-1905 MARINETTE Edward Kowalski N2075 Shore Dr. Marinette 54143 (715) 732-8803

Wisconsin Bluebird

MARQUETTE No Appointee MENOMINEE No Appointee MILWAUKEE Ellen Lafouge 9154 Fielding Rd. Bayside 53217 414) 353-6697 MONROE Kent Hall 200 Pine Bluff Rd. Stevens Point 54481 (715) 344-8081 OCONTO Gene K. Birr 722 E. Frontage Rd. Little Suamico 54141 (920) 826-7552 ONEIDA No Appointee OUTAGAMIE Steve Mayer 2803 Bristol Mtn. Trail Green Bay 54313 (920) 434-9885 OZAUKEE Ellen Lafouge 9154 N. Fielding Rd. Bayside, WI 53217 (414) 353-6697 PRICE No Appointee PEPIN No Appointee PIERCE Jim Beix W11268 840th St. River Falls 54022 (715) 425-6981 POLK No Appointee PORTAGE Joe Schultz 5221 Cheryl’s Dr. Plover 54467 (715) 341-5521 RACINE Rick Fare 810 Indiana Racine 53405 (262) 632-7585

Helen Pugh 17 Redwing LN Racine 53402 (262) 308-6419

Stephanie & Will Purner E11981 Sunset Dr. LaFarge 54639 (608) 625-4115

RICHLAND Jane Furchgott S10093 Bear Valley Rd. Lone Rock 53556 (608) 583-2431

VILAS No Appointee

ROCK Harv Kucaba 3711 N. Cty Line Rd. Delavan 53115 (608) 883-2456 RUSK Don Bartig 216 W. Phillips Ave. Ladysmith 54848 (715) 532-3303 betteanddon@hotmail. com SAUK No Appointee SAWYER Diane Chambers 11734 N Harper Rd. Hayward 54843 715-699-0356 SHAWANO Ruthann Meiers W5388 Navarino Rd. Shiocton 54170 (715) 758-2463 SHEBOYGAN Lee Curtis W 7706 Cty. Rd. W Cascade 53011 (920) 838-2193

WALWORTH Jerry Schoen 682 Foxglove Lane Whitewater 53190 (262) 473-7189 basketsandbirds@ WASHBURN Storme Nelson N2384 Hunt Hill Rd. Sarona 54807 (715) 635) 6543 WASHINGTON Mary Holleback 720 Madison Ave. West Bend 53095 (262) 335-9843 mholleback@nconnect. com WAUKESHA Bob Tamm S71 W19784 Williams Dr. Muskego 53150 (262) 679-2068 WAUPACA Kent Hall 200 Pine Bluff Rd. Stevens Point 54481 (715) 344-8081 WAUSHARA Bob Fox 142 South Pine St. Plainfield 54966 (715) 335-4101

ST. CROIX Lowell Peterson 1860 45th St. Somerset 54025 (715)-247-3243 TAYLOR Claire Romanak 7175 Nehrbass Rd. Athens 54411 (715) 257-1905 TREMPEALEAU Fred Craig 807 Judith Ct. Holmen 54636 (608) 526-2221 VERNON 15

WINNEBAGO John Zeinert 2699 Wrenwood Lane Neenah 54956 (920) 725-8158 WOOD Kent Hall 200 Pine Bluff Rd. Stevens Point 54481 (715) 344-8081

Attracting Purple Martins Educate Yourself. Learn everything you can about Purple Martins. Visit the web site www.purplemartin. org of the Purple Martin Conservation Association (PMCA). Choose the Right Lo­cation. Martin housing should be in the center of the largest open spot available, about 30120 feet from human housing. Put Up Manageable Housing. Your chances for success will be better if your housing is easy to manage. Choose a pole that telescopes, or is equipped with a winch or rope & pulley, and housing that has easy access to the compart­ ments. Open Housing at the Right Time. At active sites, the first martins usually return within a week or two of the previous years’ arrival dates. Increase Your Chances. Offer a combination of houses and gourds. Play a dawnsong recording. Add a Purple Martin decoy or two. Don’t Close it Too Soon. Keep your house open until late August, as fledglings will be searching for next year’s breeding sites in late summer. Protect Your Housing from Predators. Once you attract Purple Mar­tins, don’t assume that because you never see any predators there are none around. so install a pole guard, too. External guards on the housing itself protect against aerial raids by hawks, owls, and crows. Conduct Weekly Nest Checks. Nest checks will not cause martins to abandon their young. Record your data.

Spring 2010

From the Pages of Wisconsin Bluebird Newsletter:

Looking Back

By Don Bragg, Rhinelander 5 Years Ago, Spring 2005 “In 2004, 15 monitors checked nest boxes on (the Aldo Leopold Audubon Society’s) trail (in central Wisconsin) for a total of seven routes…Nest box totals for the routes ranged from 16 to 60...Almost without exception, routes were inspected on Saturdays, Sundays or Mondays. This minimized “time of week” as a variable in the data we collected,” reported Kent D. Hall, PhD, BRAW Board member. “A monitors’ meeting was held before the season began, to maximize the reliability of data collection. Nest box inspections began on April 18, 19 and 20.” “Monitors were asked to send in their route data electronically on the same day they collected it. The data was then organized into a “Trail Report” that was sent back to everyone. This procedure worked very well and was important for the following reasons: 1) It allowed monitors to share with other monitors the excitement and disappointments of their monitoring experiences; 2) it gave me feedback that the monitors were doing their weekly monitoring responsibly; 3) it provided a chance for monitors to ask questions and then have them answered and shared with other monitors; and, 4) it assured that a more uniform and scientific monitoring program developed,” wrote Dr. Hall. See pg. 2. 10 Years Ago, Spring 2000 “The statewide bluebird productivity per 100 boxes has increased dramatically since 1996. The bluebirds fledged per 100 boxes was 104 in 1996, and 201 in 1999. Statewide, the bluebird fledge increased 5449 in 1996 to 8534 in 1999. The tree swallow fledge dropped from 7220 in 1996 to 5370 in 1999. And the state-wide number of boxes dropped from5264 in 1996 to 4255 in 1999. I believe the latter is a result of eliminating boxes in pairs in many instances,” reported Data Analysis Chair Joe O’Halloran. Pages 4-7. **** “The state-wide use of paired boxes in Wisconsin dropped from about half in 1996 to about a third in 1997, to about a fourth in 1998, to about an eighth in 1999. These four years of the BRAW box-pairing study, involving about 16,000 box-years, were accompanied by a remarkable increase in bluebird production,” said O‘Halloran, in an article titled, 1999 BRAW Box Pairing Study, Pgs 8-10. 15 Years Ago, Spring 1995 Monitors’ data for the Year 1994 was entered into a Lotus 1-2-3 data base by Joe O’Halloran, chairman of the Data Analysis and Collection committee. This first-of-its-kind sifting of bluebird nesting data by BRAW with a computer database and its initial findings are described in the annual report by O’Halloran. Wisconsin Bluebird


As an example of the newer insight into box data now possible through computer analysis, the open-top Bauldry box with 82 percent of young fledged from bluebird eggs (Table 4) was the lowest producer of bluebirds due to poor box acceptance. Just 11 boxes, or 5 percent, of the 219 Bauldry boxes (Table 3) were used by nesting bluebirds. The long acclaimed, deep Hill Lake box had similar poor success. While 73.2 percent of bluebird eggs hatched in the Hill Lake boxes, only 168 boxes, or14.4 percent of the 1177 Hill Lake boxes were used by bluebirds. On the other hand, the shallow Peterson box was an eye opener. The Peterson box had a 71.7 percent bluebird egg hatch. But because of its high rate of box acceptance by bluebirds, it fledged 1826 babies from 444 boxes. This was an acceptance rate of 47.8 percent by bluebirds of the Peterson box. Pgs 1-4. 20 Years Ago, Spring 1990 A two-year effort was won by BRAW to eliminate a DNR license purchase requirement for persons who sought to defend bluebirds from marauding house sparrows and European starlings in Wisconsin. The issue surfaced in 1987 when a conservation warden arrested two men in eastern Wisconsin for destroying unprotected nuisance birds without having first purchased small game hunting licenses. The warden successfully prosecuted the case through the local court much to the dismay of the BRAW board of directors. BRAW then sought the assistance of the Bureau of Wildlife Management for a change in Wisconsin Administrative Rule NR 12.05 to end the arbitrary annual licensing requirement sought by the conservation warden. The rule change was adopted by the Natural Resources Board, effective October 16, 1989, with the provision that the landowner’s or manager’s permission be obtained to control the marauding unprotected birds if the bluebirder is acting upon property not owned by the bluebirder. (BRAW Form 25, Landowner’s or Manager’s Permission to Remove Nuisance Birds accompanied the March 1990 Wisconsin Bluebird newsletter article.) Pgs 1-2.

Save the date!

2010 BRAW Annual Convention Set

The BRAW, 2010 Annual State Convention will be held on Sept. 18, 2010, in central Wisconsin at the Mead State Wildlife Area’s Education & Visitor Center on Hwy. S north of Milladore. More information will be in the next issue or call Kent Hall at (715) 3443-8081 or email: .

Spring 2010

Fence post mounting system

Brice Prairie Conservation Association uses the “T” post method to mount NABS Style nest boxes on their trails in the LaCrosse area.

The “T” post method by Leif Marking

• Nest box lumber is 7/8” western cedar with rough side exterior • 7 ft. steel T-type fence post to accommodate the 1 1/2” PVC predator guard

NABS Style nest box mounted on T-type fence post with PVC pipe.

• 5 ft. section of 1-1/2” PVC cut partially for U-bolt-see photo (drain pipe or electrical conduit available in 10 ft sections) • U-bolt that measures 5/16” x 2” x 3-1/4” available at Farm and Fleet These photos show how the single U-bolt though the slotted PVC fastens the predator guard and box to the steel T-type fence post. The common T-type fence post is cheaper, stabler, sturdier, and removable without mutilation.

EZ-Tamm Mounting System By Bob Tamm

1. Using a standard 10 ft. section of ¾” EMT conduit (available at Menard’s, Home Depot, etc.), cut off about 2 – 2 ½ ft. ( hack saw) and discard. 2. Flatten tip of the 7 ½ ft. or 8 ft. section with hammer or sledge. This makes it easier to pound pole into ground, and prevents it from turning.

3. Loosely attach ¾” EMT conduit 2-hole straps to back of box using ¾” deck screws. ( Note: ¾” deck screws are hard to find. I get mine at Menard’s.) 4. Using post pounder, pound long conduit section into ground, allowing about 6 to 6 ½ ft. above ground. 5. Slip box with straps onto conduit and adjust box for height. Then tighten screws.

Note: If you would like to use the entire 10 ft. section, try this: Measure two sections to 6’-8” and cut. You will have two left over 3’4” sections, which will make a third 6’-8” section if you use a coupler. If you drive these sections about 14 inches into the ground, you will still have enough conduit above ground to mount a box on the 5 ft. above ground conduit. You then have three mounts from two 10 ft. sections.

Wisconsin Bluebird


Spring 2010

BRAW Elected & Appointed Officers

Appointed Officers and Committee Chairpersons:

President Joe Schultz, 5221 Cheryl’s Dr., Plover, WI 54467 • 715/341-5521 (term to 12/11) Vice President Dr. Kent Hall, 200 Pine Bluff Rd., Stevens Point, WI 54481 • 715/344-8081 (term to 12/11) Secretary Patricia Heiden, W399 S5484 Hwy Z, Dousman, WI 53118 • 262/495-8595 (term to 12/10) Treasurer, Mike Helgren, 1013 Georgetown Circle, Beaver Dam, WI 53916 • 920-885-4050 (term to 12/11) Director Fred Craig, 807 Judith Ct. Holmen, WI 54636 • 608/5262221 (term to 12/11) Director, Sue Hall, 200 Pine Bluff Rd., Stevens Point, WI 54481 • 715/344-8081, (term to 12/11) Director Ellen Lafouge, 9154 N. Fielding Rd.., Bayside, WI 53127 • 414/352-6697; (term to 12/10) Director Leif Marking, W7917 Co. Hwy. ZB, Onalaska, WI 54650 • 608/781-0323 • (term to 12/11) Director Patrick Ready, 1210 Oakwood Ct., Stoughton, WI 53589 • 608/873-1703 • (term to 12/11) Director Claire Romanak, 7175 Nehrbass Rd.; Athens, WI 54411 • 715-257-1905 • (Term to 12/10): Director, Jerry Schoen, 682 Foxglove Lane, Whitewater, WI 53190 • 262-473-7189 • (term to 12/10) Director, David Pray, 4925 Barbara’s LN Stevens Point, WI 54481 • (715) 344-0051 • (12/11)

Data Collection Coordinator: Dr. Kent D. Hall, 200 Pine Bluff Rd., Stevens Point 54481 • 715/344-8081; Data Analysis Coordinator: Dr. Peter Dunn, Associate Professor, Dept. of Biology, UW-Milwaukee, P.O. Box 413, Milwaukee 53201 • 414/2292253; • County Coordinator Chair: Joe Schultz (see above) Funding: Mike Helgren (see above) WI Bluebird Editor: Patrick Ready, (see above) Membership: Sue Schultz, 5221 Cheryl’s Dr., Plover, WI 54467 • 715/341-5521 • Nest Box Designs: Leif Marking, (see above) Public Relations: Ellen Lafouge, (see above) Student and Youth Outreach Committee: Co-Chairpersons: Lowell Peterson, 1860 45th St., Somerset, WI 54025 • 715/247-3243; and, Mary Holleback, 720 Madison St., West Bend, WI 53095-4136 • 262/335-9843 Ornithological Consultants (Volunteers) Dr. Peter Dunn, Biology Dept., UM-Milwaukee, P.O. Box 413, Milwaukee, WI 53201 • 414/229-2253 and Dr. Linda Whittingham, Biology Dept., UM-Milwaukee, P.O. Box 413, Milwaukee, WI 53201 • 414/229-2252 BRAW Liaisons: Bur. Of Endangered Res. Liaison: Sumner Matteson, DNR, 101 S. Webster St. PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53701 • 608-266-1571 WSO Liaison: William P. Mueller, 1242 S. 45 St. Milwaukee, WI 53214 • (414) 643-7279 •

Wisconsin Bluebird Subscription and BRAW, Inc. Membership

Yes! I would like to renew my membership with the Bluebird Restoration Association of Wisconsin, Inc. and receive its newsletter Wisconsin Bluebird. Enclosed is my check/money order (do not send cash) made out to BRAW, Inc. for the following: Subscription/Membership contribution: [ ] $15 individual [ ] $25 Family Annual [ ] $300 Life Membership [ ] $100 Corporate Annual

[ ] $  15 to nest box construction with post & predator guard [ ] $100 for nest box trail [ ] $_______for educational research (Master’s thesis) [ ] In addition to my membership contribution, I wish to contribute: $___________ (Contributions to BRAW are tax deductible)

Print clearly

Check appropriate boxes: [ ] This is a renewal. [ ] This is a new subscription [ ] This is a GIFT subscription. Enclosed please find my check $ _____________

Name: _______________________________________ Address: _____________________________________ City: ________________________________________ State: ____________________Zip Code: ___________

Mail this membership/subscription request to: BRAW, Inc. c/o Sue Schultz 5221 Cheryl’s Dr. Plover, WI 54467

Email Address: ________________________________ Telephone: (

) ______________________________

County of residence: __________________________

Please note: This form appears in this newsletter as a convenience for all who wish to obtain membership. Membership renewals are due as of January 1 each year. The BRAW, Inc. bylaws stipulate that the winter issue (December issue) of Wisconsin Bluebird newsletter of the new year will be the last issue sent if your membership is not renewed before the Spring issue is printed.

Wisconsin Bluebird


Spring 2010

Individual Nestbox Weekly Field Record Bluebird Restoration Association of Wisconsin, Inc.

FORM 22 Name

Year _____________

Mailing address City _______________________________________________________ State __________________________ Phone (

Zip ___________________

) ____________________

Height of hole: _______ (distance to ground in nearest 1/2 foot)

Box design name (See sketches on back of form for some of the most productive box designs)


Location of box ______________________________________________ (including distance from reference points) Box support (circle one): 1. T metal post 2. U metal post 3. Conduit rebar 4. Other (list) ______________________________ Was a predator guard used on this box? (circle one) 1. PVC tube 2. Rain gutter 3. stove pipe 4. Other (list) _____________ Habitat (circle best description): 1. Grassland Date of visit

Check made by

Is nest present

7. Surburban Number of eggs

Est. date of hatch

2. Pasture

3. Orchard

8. Building site Number of young

4. Fence row

9. Wetland

5. Cultivated field

6 Forest edge

Other _____________________________

Comments: (Condition of young, parasites, predation, Bird species banding, future box repair, encroachment of woody

Number fledged

vegetation, observation, etc.)

____ T  he U.S.F.W.S. guidelines for active nests were followed while monitoring the nests of all songbird species during my/our study.

Please send in your data on a BRAW Form 21 by September 1 to: Kent D. Hall, Ph. D., 200 Pine Bluff Rd. Stevens Point, WI 54481

Box Number

Form 22 - Individual Nestbox Weekly Field Record (Revised 1/07) Wisconsin Bluebird


Spring 2010

Date of visit

Check made by

Is nest present

Number of eggs

Est. date of hatch

Number of young

Comments: (Condition of young, parasites, predation, Bird species banding, future box repair, encroachment of woody

Number fledged

vegetation, observation, etc.)

Additional Comments:

Instructions: Consolidate your data at the end of the nesting season from this BRAW, Inc. Form 22, Individual Nestbox Weekly Record and enter it on the Annual Bluebird Nesting Survey Summary Form 21. Send your summarized data by September 1 to Dr. Kent Hall, 200 Pine Bluff Rd., Stevens Point, WI 54481. Many box types are being used by Wisconsin bluebirders. But only the following box types had averages above the 3.5 bluebird fledglings per box for the 2008 season: K-Box, NABS-Style and Peterson.


NABS style


Form 22 - Individual Nestbox Weekly Field Record (Revised 1/07) Wisconsin Bluebird


Spring 2010

BRAW Form 21 Revised 1-10

YEAR __________

Bluebird Restoration Association of Wisconsin


For two years the BRAW Form 21 has been modified to attempt to eliminate problems related to recording data, but 10% of the reports are still being turned in with mistakes. We are therefore altering the form once again to attempt to eliminate these mistakes. We are asking that you record all eggs laid and chicks hatched that resulted in the first successful set of fledglings in Column 1 (includes eggs laid but not hatched and eggs hatched but not fledged) and only then move on to Column 2. In column 2 put all eggs laid and chicks hatched that resulted in a second set of fledglings (includes eggs laid but not hatched and eggs hatched but not fledged) and only then move on to Column 3. In column 3 put all eggs laid and chicks hatched that resulted in a third set of fledglings (includes eggs laid but not hatched and eggs hatched but not fledged). *A worksheet example is found on the reverse side of this sheet. We ask that you provide complete data (including eggs and hatchlings). Moreover, BRAW monitors are expected to collect data from each of the songbirds below and to protect their nests. Data sheets with incomplete information on either bluebirds or other songbirds will not be included in the BRAW Annual Report.

Please return this completed form by September 1 to BRAW, Inc., c/o Dr. Kent Hall, 200 Pine Bluff Rd., Stevens Point, WI 54481. Any reports received after Oct. 10 will not be included in the Annual Report. Name ___________________________________________________ Address: ________________________________________________ City _______________________State_______Zip_______________ Telephone (_______) - ____________ Email Address: __________________________________________ County where boxes are located? ________________________ Use a separate Survey Summary form for Each County.


Total Boxes Presented: (Sum of used & unused) IMPORTANT: Number of boxes with no nests during the current season: Number of boxes with at least one bluebird egg laid in them: Number of boxes in with a House Sparrow Nest:

uccessful Bluebird Nesting Attempts S Tree House Black-capped All 1st Fledged All 2nd Fledged All 3rd Fledged Swallow Wren Chickadee Nests of Chicks Nests of Chicks Nests of Chicks

All Nest Attempts: Number of nests in which at least one egg was laid. Egg Count: Total number of eggs laid for all nests, including those that don’t hatch. Hatchlings: Total number of eggs hatched for all nests. Fledglings: Number of young birds that fledged from all nests. Successful Nest Attempts: Number of nests in which at least one young bird fledged from a nest (Often is less than all nest attempts) * First nesting attempt in all boxes----are not to be entered.

Many box types are being used by Wisconsin bluebirders. But only the following box types had averages above the 3.5 bluebird fledglings per box for the 2006 season: NABS-Style, Peterson and K-box.

NABS style



Type of mounting system used: _____ T-shaped fence post ____ U-shaped fence post ____ Conduit/Rebar Do you use predator protection for your mounting system? _____ PVC _____ Aluminum _____ Other _____ None ____ The U.S.F.W.S. guidelines for active nests were followed while monitoring the nests of all songbird species during my/our study. Spring 2010 21 Wisconsin Bluebird

BRAW management practices that are thought to have improved Eastern Bluebird production on the Audubon and other Bluebird Trails. Location, Location, Location: 1) Need a territorial forage area of 1-3 acres of predominantly open habitat 2) Ideal sites: short, sparse grass with interspersed trees: cemeteries, golf courses, parks, roadsides, bike trails, RR tracks 3) Boxes should be totally exposed to sunlight from sunrise until noon; thereafter, shading is permissable 4) Perch sites: a) P  erch sites: a) One or more trees (10’ ideal) within 100’ (preferably closer) to the front or to one side of nest box (most hunting starts on a perch and these trees are vital for use as survival perches when chicks first fledge) b) Fences (barbed, electric, wooden) c) Electrical wires (no more than 30’ high preferred), clothes lines 5) Noisy sites okay (interstates, other roadways, railroads, temporary air shows, church picnics) 6) Roadways with limited traffic can be ideal nest box sites and adults and young chicks are rarely killed by traffic.

3) Chicks starving/lethargic: foster into nests with chicks of similar age, + or - 2 days [place with slightly younger, if possible]: 85% reared by adoptive parents in a 4-year study by the Aldo Leopold Audubon Society in central WI 4) House Wrens only: The first week leave partial or complete nests in tact. If still no egg nest cup the 2nd week destroy dummy nest. Repeat if necessary. If egg cup or eggs are found in the 2nd week allow natural cycle to continue. Predator Guard on Mounting Pole/Post: 1) Do not put boxes on wooden fence or electrical posts. The cheapest and most convenient mounting system uses 3/4” electrical conduit. Cut 10’ conduit to 6’-8” lengths. Flatten 4” at end and bury 18” of conduit. To the remaining 5’ conduit attach two 3/4” clamps and screw to box. Two 3/4” pieces can be joined with a coupler to make a 6’-8” post. 2) The most effective way to trap House Sparrows is with a Van Ert trap ( Usually, the male can be trapped and disposed of, a superior technique to removing the female (see the following). A less effective method for trapping sparrows is recommended by the Purple Martin Conservation Association. Let sparrow hens lay eggs. When they are warm to the touch, hens have started incubating them. Hens can then be caught on the nest by hand at night and disposed of. When capturing the hen take care not to break the eggs. Remove eggs and all nesting material and place the eggs back on the nesting platform and crush them. The male will come to the nest before sunrise and eat all the egg shells, in an apparent attempt to get rid of any negative evidence for attracting another female. Usually, however, the broken eggs spook the male and he does not attract another female, leaving the box available for a songbird nest attempt.

Relocation: 1) Change the nest box position if there has been no bluebird nesting attempt in a season OR 2) C  hange by the end of the following April (75-90% of nest boxes have been occupied by bluebirds by then); if no nesting has occurred by the end of April your 2nd nesting season, it is sign that your site is unappealing to bluebirds. But moving them to better nest sites still gives you a 50:50 chance of occupancy for the season. Box Style/Dimensions: 1) In ‘the wild”, bluebirds prefer to occupy old woodpecker holes that are not usually very large 2) Shallow, narrow boxes work best: a) 4-5” below the bottom of the hole as maximum depth b) 4 x 4”, 4 x 5” nesting platform (inside dimensions) 3) No vents or keep vents closed until June 1 to prevent windchill from killing eggs and/or chicks 4) Oval hole small enough to keep out starlings & cowbirds 5) D  on’t use predator guards on box fronts (too thick for bluebirds) or perches on boxes (used by predator birds such as sparrows & kestrels). Instead, use a predator guard on your mounting post or make the mounting post your predator guard (3/4” electrical conduit preferred).

Direction of Opening: 1) Keep away from prevailing westerly winds (cools boxes) 2) Use the same direction for all boxes 3) Cornell University has determined that directing the opening of a nest box to the northeast, east or southeast improves the fledging rate of Eastern Bluebirds in northern latitudes. Apparently, boxes pointed in that direction, heat up more quickly in the mornings in cold weather but do not collect as much heat from a southern exposure in summer.

Spacing: 1) S  pace no closer than 100-200 yards (1-3 acre territories); encourages Tree Swallow occupation if boxes are placed closer than this 2) Pairing reduces bluebird and increases swallow production/box Nest, Egg & Chick Removal for bluebirds, chickadees, Tree Swallows (1,2,3) and House Wrens (4): Procedures approved by USFWS in Dec., 2006 1) P  artial or complete nests w/o eggs: 1st week; 2nd ,3rd ,4th weeks, no change, then remove; restart week count if more building occurs; if wet, remove, replace with dry, fine grass or pine needles (white pine preferred) 2)touch eggs each week; if they are warm, they are being incubated; if they then turn cold, they have been abandoned and are dead; remove cold eggs with nest and the same or a different hen will usually be back building a nest within a week or two. Wisconsin Bluebird


Spring 2010

Winter Blues Again

continued from page 9

Joanne DeVetter

By Jo DeVetter, Brown Co. Coordinator Well, another cold season is upon us, a time to rest a bit, reflect on last summer’s bluebird count and look positively forward to next summer and the very real possibility of reaching our ultimate goal of 30,000 fledglings. It’s something we’ve anticipated for quite some time now. Autumn’s migration sent most of our broods to a warmer climate. For the third winter in a row I’ve hosted a small flock of bluebirds here in the “Frozen Tundra” they call Green Bay and it’s suburb of Howard. There are many theories as to why these birds and the ones the two previous winters chose this location. Not having been banded there is no way of knowing if they are one and the same. Kent Hall suggests they may be a precursor to global warming, subtle temperature changes we don’t yet feel, but they might. I jokingly tell everyone they’ve already been south and didn’t like it, so came back (absent as they were from October 1st until the second week in December), or possibly this IS south for them. Perhaps they came down from Canada or the UP of Michigan. Or maybe, as my friend Terri suggested, they were here all the while, filling up on native berries those weeks when they were plentiful. One thing we do know for sure, they go where the food sources are. We do have a lot of wild grape, sumac, high bush cranberries, etc. in the neighborhood, and the red cedar, aka juniper hedge we planted 10 years back is finally bearing their blueberry-like cones. Seeds have been planted of American bittersweet, too, it’s said to be a favorite. If left to their own devices these birds have a very real chance of surviving, but I try to help them by cooking up a batch of “bluebird banquet” I found on the internet. It’s easy to make, using ingredients readily available (peanut but-

Door Co. Blues . . .

ter, suet, sunflower hearts, zante currants, etc) This winter we’ve mostly gotten away from seed mixes and rely on this recipe with a few additions to draw in lots of songbirds, among them cardinals, juncos, nuthatches and other woodpeckers, chickadees, blue jays, and unfortunately a few starlings and house sparrows. These last two I try my darnedest to scare away whenever possible. My neighbors must think me a crazy woman when I throw the front door open suddenly and let loose with my own rendition of a startled jay, clapping my hands for good measure. If the bluebirds are there they sit quietly in a nearby tree, then calmly go about enjoying their meal….(thanks Mom, yes , I’m crazy and a real bird-brain)…..Sometimes they are rewarded with live mealworms I’ve finally become successful at raising. Mealtimes are mainly dawn and dusk but they arrive at other times, too, responding to my 2-note whistle (woo hoo) if they are nearby, I keep a vigil at the front door and weather allowing use my binoculars and camera to keep track of them. When blizzards threaten I worry for them but they‘ve proven quite hardy, likely having found a woodpecker’s hollow tree to roost and stay warm. Come spring if they do decide to stick around they’ll have first dibs on all the best nest boxes in our neighborhood and continue to raise their broods with human helpers nearby.

Wisconsin Bluebird • Volume 25, Number 1 • Spring 2010 Published by the Bluebird Restoration Association of Wisconsin, Inc. Editor, Designer, Photographer Patrick Ready, 1210 Oakwood Ct., Stoughton, WI 53589 608-873-1703 • Wisconsin Bluebird is published quarterly by the Bluebird Restoration Association of Wisconsin, Inc. (BRAW) 1210 Oakwood Ct., Stoughton, WI 53589. Subscription price is included in membership dues. Subscriptions, renewals and address changes should be sent to Sue Schultz, 5221 Cheryl’s Dr., Plover, WI 54467. Issues are dated Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. Deadlines for submissions to the editor are due the 15th of January, April, July, and October. Contact the Wisconsin Bluebird newsletter editor for reprint permission of any material printed in the Wisconsin Bluebird. Patrick Ready: 608-873-1703 •

Wisconsin Bluebird


Door County being one of only five counties in Wisconsin producing more than 1,000 bluebirds. We also learned that we rated #2 in numbers of monitors behind Eau Claire County which had many boy scouts participating. There is a lot of open land in Door County suited for bluebird nesting. Our next challenge is to increase awareness and interest for bluebird trails in southern Door County, south of Sturgeon Bay. Roy will write a major story on nest boxes, bluebirds and monitoring for the March 5th issue of our local newspaper, The Peninsula Pulse (www. We will communicate with as many present and former monitors as possible to encourage more bluebird trails and better monitoring and reporting. We want to see the bluebirds increase their population in all of Door County to help Wisconsin reach it goal of 30,000 annual fledglings.

“Nature always wears the colors of the spirit.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

The mission and purpose of the Bluebird Restoration Association of Wisconsin, Inc. is to monitor and increase the production of Eastern Bluebirds and other native cavity nesters through a coordinated statewide nest box construction and monitoring program. Spring 2010

Bluebird Restoration Association of Wisconsin


Sue Schultz, Membership Chair 5221 Cheryl’s Dr., Plover, WI 54467

Spring is coming! Time to get your nest boxes ready.

Bluebird Battles! Submitted by Fred Craig


Spring 2010

Wisconsin Bluebird, Spring 2010  

Wisconsin Bluebird, Spring 2010, newsletter of the Bluebird Restoration Association of Wisconsin