Male half of the cavity-nesting bluebird pair seeks food for second brood | Phil Green

In early June, volunteers participating in SJPT’s Western Bluebird Reintroduction Project spotted and photographed a pair of bluebirds nesting in a natural cavity of a Garry oak tree—a first in the history of the 15-year project (see story). Just over a month later, the same pair came back.

They returned to the same hole in the same tree to raise a second brood. Accompanying the pioneering parental pair was a juvenile offspring from the first batch. It was helping with the care and feeding of its younger siblings. This behavior is not uncommon, but it was still pretty adorable! At least three nestlings fledged during the first week of August.

“This has been a fascinating project for a lot of years,” said Maria Small, owner of the oak nesting site and a longtime bluebird nest-box host. “To see this program come this far, it’s been a thrill, because we started with an aviary in the backyard with reintroduced birds [and] with a lot of nest boxes around. And this particular pair has decided to nest in the tree, and to heck with the boxes! And so it’s all been really fun.”

Watch our short video interview with Maria Small here.

Western Bluebirds evolved alongside Garry oak trees. The species has been tied to oak-prairie systems for centuries and has been the charismatic emblem of a disappearing habitat over the last century as oak ecosystems have been decimated.

Thanks to Phil Green for giving us permission to use the fantastic photos he captured on Wednesday, July 27. All photos © Phil Green.