If you love birding, you will love searching the trees and skies over San Juan Island for the Western Bluebird, returning now to us after 50 years. Be sure to pack your binoculars and camera long range lens when you are readying for your stay at the Harrison House Suites in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. Your birding report could add to the collection of knowledge on this project!
Western Bluebirds were common on San Juan Island until the 1960’s, when their habitat was diminished, and the areas that were left became occupied by European Starlings (round up the usual suspects!). An intensive relocation program began a few years ago, and happily, 24 pairs have relocated successfully.
The project was a joint venture between San Juan Island Audobon Society, San Juan Preservation Trust, American Bird Conservancy, and the Ecostudies Institute of Mt. Vernon & Ft. Lewis. A few years ago, 150 San Juan Island volunteers built 130 nesting boxes to encourage the Western Bluebirds to return to our island after a 50 year absence. Looks like it is working! The goal is to eventually have at least 45 pairs of nesting birds who return annually to our shores.
A detailed article regarding the Western Bluebirds’ return to San Juan Island can be found here: http://sjpt.org/places-projects/stewardship-projects/western-bluebird-project/
Birders, you can find these lovely birds in open woodlands, usually at the edge of a meadow or prairie. Enjoy your encounter, take photos, but please do not get too close. If you are at English Camp or American Camp, please report your sighting to a park ranger or volunteer.