In the first half of the 20th century, Eastern Bluebirds’ survival was threatened primarily by the introduction of Starlings and House Sparrows to their native habitat. These birds were big competition for nesting spots and often invaded Eastern Bluebirds’ nests, destroyed them and killed baby birds. In fact, by the 1960s, scientists were worried the decline in population might even lead to extinction.
Saving a Species
Bird lovers throughout the eastern half of the United States took great strides to save the eastern bluebird by building nest boxes. To ensure Starlings stay away from baby bluebirds, nest boxes need to be big enough to allow bluebirds entry, but small enough to prevent Starlings from accessing the interior.
Meet Finn, an Eastern Bluebird who resides in the Discovery House. He came to us from the Blue Ridge Wildlife Institute at Lees-McCrae College as an orphaned chick from last spring. He will be turning one year old in April. In the wild, Eastern Bluebirds eat mainly ground insects, such as grasshoppers, crickets and beetles, but in captivity, Finn enjoys a pelleted insectivore diet and a few mealworms. Finn is a reminder to Greensboro Science Center visitors about the importance of bluebird conservation. Say hi to him on your next visit!
The Greensboro Science Center’s Efforts
If you walk around Animal Discovery near the Friendly Farm, you’ll notice several bluebird nest boxes strategically placed around grassy clearings. Since the majority of a bluebird’s diet consists of insects and other invertebrates, these grassy fields are the perfect hunting grounds for the birds to find food. Providing a home near food is just one way the Center encourages bluebird nesting.
Last year, our nesting boxes were a great success! We had a brood of baby bluebirds and enjoyed watching them thrive right in our own backyard. We hope this year will prove just as prosperous for our feathered friends. Stay tuned to our blog to see if we have any successful nests this year!