It’s April in South Carolina and spring is in the air!
We have just arrived from Naples, Florida; the move is behind us and we are rested and eager to begin writing the next chapter in our lives. Al and I are both adventurous, enjoy the outdoors and enjoy learning new things, especially as it relates to where we live or visit. We were both ready for a change of pace and something new and fun to do.
We had read in the Woodside Newsletter that Jim Burke, a resident of Woodside and member of the South Carolina Bluebird Society, would be leading an informational hike on The Village Trail to share his knowledge of and to introduce participants to the fun of knowing this little blue local called the Eastern Bluebird. We called Jim to sign up for the hike and he shared that he and other members of the SCBS would be at Hopelands Gardens participating in Earth Day and teaching visitors about the joys and the plight of the South Carolina Bluebirds.
Sounds like we could kill two birds with one stone on this adventure (oops, bad metaphor)
Maybe… This sounds like a perfect adventure! We can meet some local folks and learn about South Carolina Bluebirds and our community and support Earth Day in beautiful Hopelands Gardens all at the same time.
A word from the Earth Day Sponsors:
“BRING YOUR LUNCH, STROLL THE PATHS, RELAX UNDER A TREE, LISTEN TO MUSIC, SEE THE EXHIBITS, ENJOY THE GARDENS AND OUR PLANET! ENJOY AIKEN!”
The next day was the Bluebird hike on The Village Trail with Jim Burke leading the way. Several people met in The Village to go on the hike and learn about the Bluebirds and Jim’s role in helping inform us on what we can do to preserve and enhance their numbers, which are on the decline due to disappearing habitat.
Jim taught us about “nest box trails” which are Bluebird houses that are placed all around Woodside Plantation and the greater Aiken community. Each box has a number on it and is monitored by volunteers in the community to help ensure the health of the birds and track the growth of the Bluebird population.
We learned about the mating, nesting and parenting habits of the SC Bluebird. They are cavity nesters that nest, on average, 3 times each year between March and August. They typically have 3-6 young in each nesting period. We learned that the SC Bluebirds do not migrate but are with us all year. We also learned that it is okay to place a fledgling bird, that has fallen from the nest back into the nest and the mother will still take care of it. We learned that the volunteers check on the nest box about once each week and log events related to each nest box. We walked from box to box and learned the proper technique for approaching the nest for the purpose of monitoring it without distressing the birds. Jim has a wealth of knowledge and we all enjoyed our Bluebird hike.
I learned that using SIRI on my iPhone to Google the audio sound and learn the Bluebird’s song while on a Bluebird hike confounds the other hikers.
A word about Jim; He was awarded the North American Bluebird Society Award for Outstanding Contributions to Bluebird Conservation and is President of the South Carolina Bluebird Society.
Also, taken from South Carolina Bluebird Society website:
“The South Carolina Bluebird Society (SCBS) was established in Aiken on October 19, 2010. It is the first North American Bluebird Society (NABS) Affiliate to be organized in South Carolina.”
“If it weren’t for human intervention bluebirds might have been lost to us forever. Happily, as a result of the efforts of concerned people living in areas just like yours, the bluebirds are making a comeback. But there is still much more that needs to be done. Won’t you please join us in helping the bluebird survive by expanding our bluebird trail system throughout South Carolina and Georgia?”
See photos from the event below.
Submitted by Char Love
August 30, 2012