More than 30 years ago, Duval Audubon Society volunteers created a series of bluebird nesting boxes along the side streets of Yellow Bluff Road in Northeast Jacksonville. The original boxes were set up by Duval Audubon members Mildred Dixon and Pat Anderson, and ten years later, Laura Johannsen took over the responsibility of checking each box weekly during breeding season (March to August) and reporting the status of each box to Cornell Lab of Ornithology's NestWatch program. With the help of her husband and other volunteers, she has maintained these 30-35 boxes and created a valuable dataset on Jacksonville bluebirds (not to mention helping these birds survive and breed).
This year Laura is taking a much deserved break. Charlene West, who lives in the area of the boxes, will be monitoring the bluebirds while Laura is away. They are pictured at left (Laura in sunglasses) when they recently went out to show Charlene the ropes. Many thanks to Laura for her years of service and to Charlene for stepping up to the job..
Just a reminder that now is the time to make sure your bluebird nest boxes are clean and solid or to install new boxes to be ready for this year’s birds. Audubon's website has an entire section devoted to bluebirds, their nesting habits, and step-by-step instructions for building a bluebird nest box. Nesting is expected to start in mid-March.
--Carolyn Antman, Conservation Chair, Duval County