Hagerman Adopt-a-Nestbox program helps Bluebirds

By Wes Crawford, Friends of Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge

The Adopt-a-Nestbox program is a well-established volunteer activity of the Friends Of Haggerman.  In 2018,  31 volunteers monitored 52 nestboxes and some also helped with trail maintenance.  Due to these efforts, at least 200 birds safely fledged from our monitored nestboxes, including 148 Eastern Bluebirds, up from last year.

The Adopt-a-Nestbox program will begin again  on December 1st, when twenty of the refuge’s nestboxes will go up for adoption for a fee of $35. Those who adopt a box will be able to follow all the exciting happenings in their nestbox via an emailed weekly report, complete with pictures and information about the stages of development of the birds and babies inhabiting it throughout the season. Funds from the adopted nestboxes go toward maintaining all of the nestboxes on the refuge.

NestboxesOur nestbox monitors had their first meeting in late February, when they paired up and selected the trails they preferred to monitor. Each week a pair of monitors carefully open each box and note observations on the Cornell NestWatch data sheet. A volunteer specialist enters the data into the Cornell database for scientific monitoring and research, and another volunteer emails the reports, with pictures, of each nestbox’s progress to its adoptive owner in the adopt-a-nestbox program. Though each nestbox is checked weekly, each pair of monitors activates monthly, on a rotating schedule.

We are excited about our 2019 season because we will be working with an OU researcher to use a nestbox camera to monitor one of our boxes. We hope to be able to generate a video image of the happenings frominside the box. The video will be available for educational use for programs at the Refuge.

If you enjoy being outdoors, care about helping wildlife and want to get to see some of the beauty at HNWR, the NESTBOX TEAM is for you. Join us by contacting us via the FOH website, friendsofhagerman.com/Contact.

We wish to thank our team members for their help:
Dick Malnory, Ken Neuhard, Steve Keller, John Brennan, Susan Knowles, Bert Garcia, Sue Raasch, Walter Bryant, Don Lawrence, Ken Hildebrand, Trey Crosthwaite, Jerry Reid, Enid Kasper, Sharon Barker, Bill Nance, Kathy Nance, Larry Vargus, Wayne Meyer, Donna Rogers, Nana Rylander, Sue Abernathy, Cathy Van Bebber, Jim Russell, Teresa Crawford, Patricia Crain, Gene and Nancy Cushion.

We also thank Dick Malnory for fabricating box panel repairs.  A new addition to our program this year was a mowing team that helped the staff keep Harris Creek and Raasch trails mowed and vegetation clear from around the nestboxes. Our team consisted of Bert Garcia, Larry Vargus,
Don Lawrence, Gene Cushion, Alan Bosma, Jay McCurley, Stephen Walker, and Mike Grubb.