Tuesday, October 14, 2014

This Up Date To The Blog is Way Overdue. Sorry!

Dad taking Dried Mealworms to the young birds

A great nesting season

The Tree of Life
First Day of Autumn
Fruit from Dogwood "Cornus  florida"
I can't believe it has been 2 1/2 months since we have updated this blog for you. It has been a very busy summer and now into the fall on the Bluebird Trail. We had a fantastic year this 2014 nesting season.

A sad start

The nesting season started early with Nest Box #2 having five Bluebird eggs in early March. They were developing and getting strong and close to time for them to fledge the nest at around 16 to 17 days. I checked them on Wednesday and they were getting really big and strong, hopping around in the nest and looking out of the Nest Box hole at the big strange world outside. Sunday I returned to check the box one more time as I new they were close to leaving. I checked with my mirror as I always do to see what was going on in the nest. I saw no movement, so I opened the door and looked again, I could see birds in the bottom of the nest, but no movement nor any parents around trying to dive bomb me, or scolding me when it is close to fledging time, to get me away from the nest.

As the Nest Boxes are located in a Park and being in the wild and as nature will have it sometimes, something had gotten the parents and the big Bluebird babies were dead in the bottom of their nest. They had died of starvation and dehydration as a result of the parents not being able to feed them. The season started off with a very sad Sunday afternoon for me! I took the nest out with the five Bluebird babies and buried them near the Nest Box #2 in the park.

Nature at work

I tell this story because I want you to know of the many happy events that happen with the hatching of the eggs and the developing of the birds and the beauty when they are big enough to fledge the nest and take their place in the wild of the park. But with the joy also sometimes comes the sadness when things happen that the birds don't hatch or they do hatch but don't make it. It is truly our loss not to have them make it and take their place in the beautiful wild and the outdoors.

It's like Christmas morning

With that bit of bad news out of the way, we had a wonderful and exciting nesting season. It is like Christmas morning for me every time I go out and check the Nest Boxes, what will I find? Will it be a nest, or will I find some beautiful blue eggs or maybe some eggs with a couple of chicks that was just hatched looking all naked and new to this world. Some days I find a nest full of already hatched birds, when they hear me they open their mouths thinking I might be a parent bringing food for them.

2014 Quick Summary
 The Cornell
 Lab of Ornithology

- 28 Total Nest Sites
- 75 Total Nesting Attempts

- 152 Total Eggs

-148 Total Young

- 133 Total Fledglings
The last to leave the nest!

The last Nest Box to hatch and fledge Bluebirds this season was Nest Box #18, they build a nest in July, the Mom laid 5 beautiful blue eggs. She sat on them to incubate them for 14 days to hatch them, I checked the nest right after the first one hatched early on August the 7th. I checked back a couple of days later and no more had hatched, this one little bird was laying in the nest with four un-hatched eggs. I waited another week, then I checked the Nest Box again, no more babies. One big baby and four un-hatched blue eggs. With the summer heat the eggs can explode and make quite the mess in the nest for the one little guy, so I used my mirror and a spoon and took out the 4 un-hatched eggs. This gave the one Bluebird more room and no chance of a mess with broken eggs. The one bird developed, the mom and dad feeding him twice an hour as they always do, whether it is one bird or six birds. My wife Kathy said the big guy might not be able to get out the Nest Box hole when it is time to leave, since he was getting all the food. She said I might have to open the front door when it was time for him to leave the nest. He was able to get out the hole on his own, he/she fledged on August 26th, making this bird the last of the 2014 season to leave the nest.

Celebrating three years

With the Green Meadows Preserve Park Bluebird Trail now at the end of our 3rd full nesting season. We stop and reflect on all that has been accomplished on the trail. With 25 Nest Boxes all sponsored and placed along the trail. With 10 Feed Stations all with sponsors and placed around the trail. One Nest Box at Still Elementary School and Two Nest Boxes at North Marietta Community Garden.

Berries that Bluebird's love
Growing the numbers!

Our first year, which was the year we put up our 1st Nest Box and the hatching and fledging of our first six baby blue birds. The 2013 year was an amazing  year with the fledging of 111 birds,  this year was a awesome year with  the fledging of 133 birds and many successful Walk and Talk Tours for the general public, private garden groups, senior wellness groups and Elementary school kids on field trips as well as a number of home schooled groups taking part in the tours of the Bluebird Trail.

Sponsor a Berry Bush or Tree

With that being said we still have much to accomplish along the Bluebird Trail this Fall and in the coming year. We are always in need of $$ contributions to help with the cost of food (Dried Mealworms) to help feed the birds for the cold winter months.

Bluebirds love poke weed
We are in the process of converting some or all of the man made perches at each of the Nest Boxes  over a period of time to a live Tree/Shrub that is a berry producing, that will provide berries as a food source in the fall and winter, to help offset the food cost. We are looking for people who would like to become a sponsor of one of the Berry-Producing type of Trees/Shrubs that will help attract and feed Bluebirds and other small birds during the cold winter months. For a contribution of $100.00 you can become a sponsor of one of these Native Plants that will help make the Green Meadows Preserve Park Bluebird Trail Environmentally Responsible Landscaping for Bluebirds and Other Birds.

Mom feeding her young baby Bluebird
Winter roosting boxes

We are also in the process of converting most of the Nest Boxes over to Roost's for the winter months, so the Bluebirds have a dry and warm place to get out of the elements during the cold winter months. With the help of George Burkett, which he has (made all Nest Boxes and Feed Stations for the Bluebird Trail.) He is now making us a wooden ladder to place inside the boxes, so four or five of them can sit on the roost and get out of the weather. We are reversing the doors, so the hole is at the bottom of the Nest Box, that way they sit up at the top of the inside of the box. With the help of a number of people who have become volunteer's and friend's of the Bluebird Trail, this will take a little time to complete and finish all 25 Nest Boxes.

Next scheduled walk and talk tour 
We hope to see you on one of our scheduled Walk and Talk Tours. The next one is scheduled for Saturday November 22nd at 10:00 AM in the morning.
Green Meadows Preserve Park Bluebird Trail,
Where Birds Come to Life!
Thanks for your support and for
joining us along the Bluebird Trail.....Jim B

Sunday, July 20, 2014

UGA Extension in Cobb County Celebrates 100 Years

Horticulture Week was celebrated with a special day at
 Green Meadows Preserve Park and a Walk and Talk
Tour was scheduled on the Bluebird Trail.

We had 28 interested and eager people to join us on the Trail Tour, it was a HOT July 8th morning.

This was the last scheduled Walk and Talk Tour for the summer. With the birds busy nesting and the summer weather being so HOT, we feel it best not to disturb the nesting birds during this time. Plus it is just to hot for us humans to be on the trail late in the mornings. I will be putting out a Fall schedule of the Walk and Talk Tours soon, that will start up again in October of this year.

We are starting to get the mean wasp that like to build their nest in the stovepipe predator guards on the Nest Box poles and Feed Station poles. I have been successful so far in keeping them out of the Nest Boxes, this spring we rubbed the upper inside of the Nest Boxes with Ivory soap. This helps to keep them from attaching their nest to the inside of the boxes. We will do this again by applying Ivory Soap to the inside of the Nest Boxes this fall and again in the spring before nesting season starts. 
These guys are very mean and their sting really hurts if you are not careful and get stung by one or more of them. Last year they were really bad early in the summer and I had to clean the nest out of the Bluebird Nest Boxes with a stick and then kill them when they were on the ground. You can not use pest spray to kill them in the Nest Boxes. The parents will leave the nest and their eggs or babies if you do, or they will not build a nest in the boxes if you have sprayed the pest killer in the boxes. Last year I was stung three different times on the same hand with gloves on and had to go to urgent care each time, so be careful with these mean wasp.

I will be providing you with a up date of the numbers we are having on the Bluebird Trail this year already in the next Blog coming later this week.

Green Meadows Preserve Trail,
Where Birds Come to Life!
Thanks for your support and for
joining us along the Bluebird Trail.....Jim B 


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Walk and Talk Tour this Saturday the 7th

Don't forget the Walk and Talk Tour this coming Saturday morning the 7th  @ 10:00 am that was changed from Thursday the 5th. Bring water to drink and maybe a hat would be good as the weather is getting pretty HOT between 10:00 am and 12:00 noon. We will meet behind the red barn west of the community garden around 9:45 am so we can get started with the Talk and Tour by 10:00 am.

Photo's provided by lady on 5/24/14 tour 

Our final tour before the HOT summer month's begin will be on Tuesday June 24th. The first day of summer officially is Saturday June 21st, so we will already be into summer by a few days.

I was on the Bluebird Trail for 4 hours yesterday checking all the Nest Boxes for nest, eggs and babies. Cleaning out the boxes that the young babies had already fledged, so it would be clean and ready for the next bird family to build a nest and raise their young. This is a beautiful ongoing cycle during the nesting season of March through August.

I decided it was the best day to check all the boxes, as I think it will be the coolest day of the week for us. It is always exciting for me when checking the boxes, am I going to find a nest, what kind of bird is it, will I find eggs or will the eggs be hatched and I will find babies. The next time will the babies be big, fully feathered or fledged already? If  you are a bird person, this is all exciting stuff.

In the recent blog post on Sunday the 1st day of June, the 2014 Quick Summary Data numbers were very distorted when they come up on the iPhone or cell phones in general. I have new Data numbers for you and laid out in a little different way.

Total Nest Sites: = 25

Total Nesting Attempts: = 49

Total Eggs: = 103

Total Young: = 125

Total Fledglings: = 78

 Green Meadows Preserve Bluebird Trail,
Where Birds Come to Life!
Thanks for joining us along the Trail
..... Jim B

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Another Tour Date Change for June

Spring Photo of Tree of Life
Sorry for having to make another change to one of our published Tour date's coming up in June. Due to a very busy June schedule for me, the Saturday June 21st Walk and Talk Tour has been changed.

The new date is Tuesday June 24th @ 10:00 am to 12:00 pm. Sorry if this has caused any inconvenience for anyone wishing to take the Bluebird Trail Tour.

We will not be leading any Walk and Talk Tours during the HOT summer month's. The birds are busy laying their eggs and raising their young birds and just trying to get through the HOT summer month's.

Feel free to walk the trail on your own during the summer if you wish, hoping you  will see some Bluebirds along the trail during your walk. 

We will be posting a fall Walk and Talk Tour schedule soon, that will start again in October of this year.

A very aggressive and painful sting
We have had a few of these predictors, but nothing like we had last year. I was stung three different times on the right hand and through my glove I must say trying to remove these guys from the nest boxes.

During the early spring I read about someone having success by treating the inside top part of the nest box with a bar of Ivory soap. I treated all 25 nest boxes with the soap and so far it has helped a lot in helping to keep the wasp from building nest in the boxes.  

This week I will be checking all 25 Nest Boxes again to make sure all is going well with the nest sites. This Data is over a week old now, but the following is an update along the Bluebird Trail.

                                                   2014 Quick Summary                                        
25                    37                  93                    133                    46
         Nest Sites   Nesting Attempts   Eggs              Young            Fledglings

Until Next Blog Posting:
Green Meadows Preserve Bluebird Trail, Where Birds Come to Life!
Thanks for joining us along the Trail.....Jim B

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Walk & Talk Tour Date Change

Note: Date Change

Due to a conflict of events on the same date, we find it necessary to change the Tour date on Thursday June 5th @ 10:00am to Saturday June 7th @ 10:00 am. I hope this has not caused any inconvenience for anyone wishing to be a part of the Walk & Talk Tour.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A Very Busy Beginning Of The New Nesting Season

March as been such a wonderful busy month already with Nest building activities as well as many special groups and talks along and about the Bluebird Trail.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Power Of MDJ Newspaper Article

The February 22nd Walk and Talk Tour was a huge success in the large number of people who showed up for the Tour. To all of you, thank you for coming out to the Green Meadows Bluebird Trail. Goes to show you the power of an excellent  newspaper article that ran the week before in the Monday MDJ.

I was out of town on this date, in Denver to see the elder of our two daughter's for her birthday and of course to see our grand daughter Avery James. I owe a big thank you to two of my good gardening friends Mike and Vicki and her husband Victor for guiding this very big and busy group tour. To Victor in his great help in finding places to put all those cars, I don't think the Green Meadows Preserve Park has seen that many cars at one time since it became a park in 2008.
     Thanks to Vicki for these two photo's of the group as they were heading out on the trail for the tour.

I am very please to say the Bluebird Trail has been very successful in introducing so many different types of groups and people to this beautiful park. We have so many individuals who come out for the tours, many that never knew the location or that it was a county park.

We now are getting a lot of requests for hiking groups, school field trips, garden club groups, photography groups and of course birder's. We hope that many of the these visitors will come back on their own and walk the trails, sit under the tree of life and take a break and just enjoy the beauty of having this beautiful park right here in west cobb. Thanks to all of you who have been big supporters of the Bluebird Trail.

Green Meadows Preserve Bluebird Trail, Where Birds Come to Life!
Thanks for joining us along the Trail.....Jim B       

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Please Join Us for The Bluebird Trail Walk and Talk Tours!

You Can Help! Become a Friend and Supporter of the Bluebird Trail  in West Cobb at the Green Meadows Preserve Park, located at 3780 Dallas Highway, Powder Springs, GA 30127.

25 Bluebird Nest Boxes have been sponsored and placed along the 2.3 mile trail within the 112 acres of open pasture, meadows and trees. This will help us support and grow the at risk Bluebird population.

One of our many feed stations.
This is one of the special feed stations that have been placed along the trail for feeding small birds, which include the song bird, the Eastern Bluebird. This helps us cut down on the cost of food by not feeding all the larger birds along the trail, there is plenty of other food for them in the Park.

We presently have seven of these feed stations up, they have been sponsored by people who wish to be a Friend and Supporter of the Bluebird Trail.

We have three more feed stations that we would like to place along the balance of the trail, each feed station is positioned to support 3 or 4 Nest Box locations. This makes the food source close and available during the nesting season. The parents feed their young, each baby bird twice an hour while they are in the nest box developing, to become a young Bluebird. To sponsor a feed station, the cost is $150.00 for each feed station, this can be done by individuals or by more than one person going in to sponsor a feed station. All the proceeds go to support the Bluebird Trail. We also welcome sponsors to help with the cost of supporting the Bluebird Trail by making contributions.
Come see our Tree of Life!

Make your checks payable to MGVOCC/
Green Meadows Community Garden
(Master Gardener Volunteers of Cobb County)

(We are a non-profit 501(c)3 organization
so your donation is tax deductible) 

Mail your sponsorship to:
Jim Bearden
1648 Oakford Court
           Marietta, GA 30064

We welcome your attendance at one or all of our scheduled
educational series,

"Bluebird Trail Walk and Talk Tours"
Dates and Times 
 Saturday May 24th,

Saturday Jun 7th, Saturday Jun 21st

All Tours: Start At 10:00 AM and End By 11:30 AM/12:00 Noon
Be sure to bring your own drinking water, insect spray/repellent, sunscreen and wear a hat if needed and comfortable shoes for walking the 2.3 mile
Bluebird Trail.
For questions: Call Jim B (cell) 404-202-8755 or jimbearden@bellsouth.net
Follow us on the Bluebird Trail Blog http://bluebirdtrail.blogspot.com/
Green Meadows Bluebird Trail, Where Birds Come to Life!
Thanks for joining us along the Trail.....Jim B

The Wild Week of Winter in Georgia

We had quite the week of weather, we living in Marietta, GA aren't use to having. It caught most of us off guard, including myself. I have lived and driven in most every state that has major snow and cold winter's, without ever to date having an auto accident. Not this year and of all places in Marietta, GA on my way to get my hair cut, then a walk in the park at the Green Meadows Preserve Bluebird Trail.

Well I never made it to my appointment for my most expensive hair cut, that I never got. I also didn't make it to the Bluebird Trail for my walk and to feed the birds. Instead I sat on the side of the road, on Dallas Hwy waiting for AAA tow truck for four hours, which never got to me. It took a good friend 3 hrs. to come 4 miles to give me a ride home. I know many of you have much bigger stories to tell about your day on Tuesday January 28th, 2014.
My 1998 Toyota 4 Runner

This "Yota" as we called her was my baby, I had put everyone of the 176,000 miles on her. I was going for the big 250,000 mile mark. I am sorry to say that will not be happening, I was informed yesterday that she is totaled and will be put to rest. So when you drive by the Green Meadows Preserve Community Garden/Bluebird Trail, you can no longer know if I am there by seeing my 1998 Toyota 4 Runner parked by the fence.

I am writing all of this so I can tell you how sorry I am that we had to cancel the scheduled Walk and Talk Tour for the Bluebird Trail on Thursday January 30th at 10:00 am. The cause was the bad weather on Thursday the 30th, not the fact that I was home sick about loosing my good friend the Toyota. The good news is that no one else was involved in the accident and I was not hurt.

Please read the next post to our blog for all the correct dates and times for the coming Walk and Talk Tours for the Green Meadows Preserve Bluebird Trail.

Green Meadows Preserve Bluebird Trail,Where Birds Come to Life!
Thanks for joining us along the Trail.....Jim B


Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy New Year! Looking Forward To Seeing All Of You In 2014


The Tree of Life...A grand southern lady

Tree of Life (the name we gave her) is located just past Nest Box # 3 along the Bluebird Trail.  She has now put on her winter look, by dropping all her leaves and taking on gray of the season.

She is such a beautiful and grand southern lady. As a Southern Red Oak she takes on a different look for each of the four seasons and has stood watch at Green Meadows Preserve for over 150 years. If only  she could talk to us...can you imagine the interesting stories she would tell?

Her time spans from the civil war where soldiers might have sat beneath her limbs for a bit of rest from the harsh summer sun to the tough years of drought and loss when this area was an active farm.  I imagine sweet love has shared secrets and embraces beneath her gracious canopy.  The stories, the people, the good times and the bad are all a part of the Tree of Life.  She offers a great place to come for quiet thoughts and listening. Try it some time, you will be amazed at how welcome she makes you feel.

fiteBac and support the Blue Bird Trail

I have a great product for the outdoor person, gardener, hiker or those people who travel often through airports and public places with lots of germs and bacteria. My good friend Dr. Kirk and the sponsor of nest box # 2 has developed this amazing hand softening gel called fiteBac Skincare that kills bacteria.  The product is petroleum free - alcohol free and cost-effective..."A little bit goes a long way". Online  price is $12.95 for 3.0 OZ size, and our price is $10 for the same size with all sales proceeds going to help support the Bluebird Trail. I use this product myself when I am on the Bluebird Trail checking Nest Boxes during nesting season, it helps with killing bacteria on my hands, it also helps with keeping insects off during the summer.

This all started when I had a problem with ants climbing the poles and getting into the nest boxes. I met Dr.Kirk on the Bluebird Trail one morning and talked to him about this.  He donated some fiteBac for me to use to treat the poles and it stopped the ants from climbing. He has donated a number of cases to the Bluebird Trail for us to sell with the proceeds going to help support and feed the bluebirds. Please give me a call if you are interested. 404-202-8755

My helper Daisy

If any of you have seen me working along the Bluebird Trail most of the time my good friend and helper Daisy has been by my side. Daisy is our family dog that showed up on our street, on my birthday 3 years ago with many health and social problems. She has come a long way in these past 3 years and is great company when I am working along the trail. Green Meadows Preserve is one of her favorite places to walk! 

Tours and nest box building coming soon!

We will be establishing and publishing the dates for our next Talk and Walk Tours for the Bluebird Trail, as well as the date and time of our Nest Box building session. This will serve as one of our fund raising projects for the year. The dates and times will be in our next blog. We hope to see many of you at Green Meadows Preserve this year.

Green Meadows Bluebird Trail, Where Birds Come to Life!
Thanks for joining me along the Trail .....Jim B