From the Daily Courier Observer:
Russell Man Films Bluebird Documentary
// By GABRIELLE
RUSSELL – A bird in a proper nesting box is worth two in the bush.
That’s just one of the messages that a north country native is hoping to promote with an upcoming film about the Eastern bluebird’s history and conservation.
George N. Grant of Russell, a past president and vice president of the non-profit North American Bluebird Society, will host screenings of his hour-long film at the Russell Opera House on Sept. 24 and Oct. 8.
“I wanted to make this very informative, very educational,” he said. “I see a lot of (nesting) boxes, but people don’t know where to put them. There are a lot of nesting failures.”
The official state bird of New York and Missouri, the Eastern bluebird nearly disappeared in the 1960s and 1970s and spent several years as a “species of special concern” in New York State. According to Mr. Grant, some of the causes of the species’ decline include pesticides, loss of habitat and predators such as English or house sparrows, European starlings and blowfly larvae.
A long-time bluebird enthusiast, Mr. Grant has fledged or reared more than 100 baby bluebirds in the last two years and hopes to raise double that amount next year.
His film, tentatively titled “How to Attract Bluebirds and How to Successfully Monitor their Nest Boxes,” will present ways that humans can maximize placement of nest boxes and help ensure the survival of bluebirds in the north country.
“The three rules of real estate are location, location and location,” he said. “The same holds true for bluebirds.”
According to Mr. Grant, nest boxes should be placed away from brushy areas – ideally in open pastures – to lower the likelihood of access by predators and other bird species.
People should also build their nest boxes to specific dimensions and monitor them diligently, and they can even provide nesting bluebirds with live or dried mealworms during inclement weather.
Although there has been a recent resurgence in Eastern bluebird populations, Mr. Grant said that the species is still not as plentiful as it was before the early 20th century.
He hopes that his movie, which was filmed using high-definition Blu-ray technology, will help inform the public about ways to continue protecting their state bird.
“Fifty years ago, you’d be lucky if you saw one bluebird in 20 years,” Mr. Grant said. “Today you can go out and find a bluebird.”
The public screenings of Mr. Grant’s film are free and will be held at 7 p.m. Sept. 24 and Oct. 8 at the Russell Opera House, 4 Pestle St.
For more information about bluebird conservation, email Mr. Grant at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Russell is a little too far away for me, but anyone who ends up going to this, please let me know how it is! I hope Mr. Grant manages to organize a screening closer to my area…
Bluebird nesting box photo from Yard Envy