After a 5-year run, the San Juan Islands Western Bluebird Reintroduction Project is wrapping up. We have a lot to celebrate.

Consider this:

  • This project marks the first successful reintroduction of a migratory songbird completed in the United States.
  • Releases and nest box placement were conducted almost entirely on private lands; nearly unheard of in reintroduction efforts of this sort.
  • All of our funding came from individual donors and private foundations; we received no government funding whatsoever for this project.

Although this first phase of the project is “over,” we have more to do. Although the translocations will cease, we will be seeking funding to continue monitoring the population for the next several years to make sure that the numbers of returning and breeding adults continues on its upward trajectory. We will be relying on islanders’ sightings and observations more than ever now that we will no longer have a full-time technician to scout for the birds.

For those who are hosting nest boxes, please remember to clean out your nestboxes each fall and continue to vigilantly remove English house sparrow nests before the young hatch (house sparrows are a distinct and very real threat to bluebirds). Keep those binoculars dusted off and ready to report the first returns in the spring. It will be imporant to continue tracking leg band colors (we know – this can be tricky), as it helps us identify the movements and survival of individuals.

Report any sightings and activity directly to Kathleen Foley Lewis at 360-298-1856.

These birds have come home. After a long absence of 50+ years, they are now part of our islands and ecosystem again. They will continue to grace our islands only with our help and good stewardship. Please continue to embrace and support their presence here and help us to ensure that they never disappear again. Thank you!

(Want to get caught up on what happened this past year? Download any of these Bluebird Updates from the 2011 season; or check out this great overview video created for us by Jane K. Fox.)

Bluebird Update Fall 2011

Bluebird Update Summer 2011

Bluebird Update Spring 2011

Origin Magazine – Bluebird article


Primary Coordinating Partners

The San Juan Preservation Trust
American Bird Conservancy
Ecostudies Institute
San Juan Islands Audubon Society
Ft. Lewis Military Installation
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

In Cooperation With:

Wolf Hollow Wildlife Rehabilitation Center
The Nature Conservancy
Pacific Coast Joint Venture

Principal Funding Sources

Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund
Zoo Boise Conservation Fund
Horizons Foundation
Norcliffe Foundation
Wildlife Forever Fund
American Bird Conservancy Donors
San Juan Preservation Trust