Sunday, April 16, 2017

Golf Course Bluebird Haven Created by Croasdaile Garden Club

"Bluebird Monitoring Crew" of the Croasdaile Garden Club. Pictured front center (in blue) is Agnes Bordeaux, a charter Croasdaile Garden Club member who worked to establish the original Croasdaile Country Club Trail. Garden club bluebird monitors are able to informally take a golf cart (at no cost) once a week and make their bluebird runs.
One of 12 bluebird nesting boxes installed on the golf course.

Editor's Note: The following 2016 bluebird project was submitted by the Croasdaile Garden Club for consideration of the Frances Boyd Blue Bird Award #32 offered by The Garden Club of North Carolina, Inc.
Croasdaile Garden Club placed second (red ribbon) in the category which was announced at the 2017 GCNC Annual Meeting in April. Incoming Croasdaile Garden Club President Susan Antle was one of the primary authors of this paper. Photos by the Croasdaile Garden Club.

Project Summary

Hatchlings ready for dinner.
Beginning date: January 12, 2016. Completion date: Installation of new nesting boxes completed 4/15/16; will continue to monitor nesting boxes in 2017.

After a January Croasdaile Garden Club “Blue Bird FAQs” presentation by Ken Kernodle (President of NC Bluebird Society) and Steve McDaniel (County Coordinator for Durham County), the Croasdaile Garden Club decided to replace the original ten boxes that were falling apart or not habitable, on the nearby Croasdaile Country Club golf course and reset the outdated trail. Members also decided to purchase and install blue bird nesting boxes in their own yards. Replacing the original ten on the golf course with twelve boxes resulted in a 20% increase in nesting boxes. Our primary objective was to restore the Croasdaile Country Club golf course trail established at least 10 years ago at the initiation of Agnes Bordeaux, garden club member. Also coordinating the purchase and installation of blue bird nesting boxes at member homes provided members with a home project that paralleled the garden club project. These two objectives would increase the blue bird population at the Croasdaile Country Club and surrounding residential areas where many garden club members live.

On a weekly basis, five garden club members assumed the primary responsibility for monitoring the twelve new nesting boxes on the golf course. Several other members went on “ride-alongs” throughout the five months. In the late afternoon, using a golf cart, two monitors followed the trail to each box and wrote brief notes about their observations: whether a nest was built or not, number of eggs laid, number of babies visible, maintenance needed – cleaning out old nests and interior surfaces, things for next week’s monitors to do (or not). These notes were added to our master list and emailed to other monitors so they could have accurate data the following week. We continued monitoring weekly through the end of July. Through August we monitored sporadically as there wasn’t any nest building activity (Third Nesting Period) in any box.
Our Results: 
  • Total Blue birds hatched/fledged in Nesting Period One = 33
  • Total Blue birds hatched/fledged in Nesting Period Two = 35
  • Total Bluebirds hatched/fledged in Nesting Period Three = 0
  • Bluebirds Hatched/Fledged at Croasdaile Country Club = 68

Nesting boxes are marked in red along the golf course.
Involvement of club members, other organizations, etc.
Ken Kernodle, President of North Carolina Bluebird Society and Steve McDaniel, County Coordinator for Durham County encouraged us to support increasing the blue bird population. We took it to heart and fifteen nesting boxes were purchased and installed in member yards. Both Ken and Steve have remained in communication via phone calls and emails answering questions as they arose during the nesting period. Ken and Steve constructed the nesting boxes for individuals and for the golf club. They installed boxes at club member’s homes.

Charles Sheffield, Golf Course Superintendent, and his staff removed all ten decrepit nesting boxes and installed the twelve new boxes. In this process, the trail was partially reset because the original box locations were 1) unreachable in overgrown areas along the creek, 2) not viewable by golf club members, or in 3) undesirable locations (poor flight paths for the blue birds). We evaluated all the existing boxes and made recommendations to Charles. The identified boxes were then moved to more appropriate spots. See the first picture below of the golf course layout with the new trail identified with red dots.
Project Budget
Croasdaile Garden Club donated $200 to purchase ten new nesting boxes. A garden club member donated two more houses. A total of fifteen nesting boxes were purchased and installed in garden club members’ yards. The monitors purchased cleaning materials to use when nesting boxes required maintenance.
Scope of Work
As our records show, we monitored on a weekly basis from March through July and periodically in August. We will continue monitoring in 2017. In addition to the five who monitored the nesting boxes in 2017, several more club members want to monitor in 2107. The golf course staff will maintain the structural components – braces, bolts, etc. Garden club members will be responsible for cleaning the nesting boxes.
Field Notes (Sample)
Hole #17
Box #12
Field between 17/18 across from the fairway bunkers
3/29 -nest empty
4/8- 4:00 5 eggs
4/13 -5 eggs babies could hatch as early as 4/18 or as late as 4/22
4/19 -5 eggs
4/21  -4 babies, 1 egg
4/26  -5 babies 4:35 pm
4/30  -5 babies 5:10 pm  (don’t open box after 5/4 unless birds have fledged)
5/4 5- babies 5:20 PM
5/10 - nest empty; box cleaned need a green container  (done)  4:50 PM
5 bluebird fledglings Round one
5/15 -no nest
5/25 -nest one egg
6/1 -five bluebird eggs
6/8 -five bluebird eggs
6/16 -new babies
6/22- babies
7/1 -fledged cleaned nest
5 bluebird fledglings Round 2
7/10 -not checked too wet
7/15 new nest, no eggs
Round 3 no eggs/babies
5 Round one
5 Round two
0 Round three
Total babies 10
Hole #12
Box #7
Left side of turf “nursery”  - by pond
3/29 -no nest
4/8 -3:50 nest no eggs
4/13 -2 eggs in nest/1 broken on ground
4/19 --3:35pm 3eggs
4/26 -3 eggs, mom on clutch
4/30 -3 babies  (don’t open box after 5/12 until fledge)
5/4 -3 babies
5/10 -3 babies
5/15 -3 babies
3 bluebird fledglings Round one
5/25 -new nest
6/1 -wren nest started
6/8 -bluebird sitting on box
6/16 -most twigs gone
6/22 -4 bluebird eggs
7/1 -4 bluebird eggs
7/10 -little babies
7/15 -medium babies
4 bluebird fledglings Round two
Round 3 no eggs/babies
3 Round one
4 Round two
0 Round three
Total babies 7

No comments: