Date: 12/29/17 9:05 am
From: jim irving <jim_irving...> [south-bay-birds] <south-bay-birds-noreply...>
Subject: Re: [SBB] An Odd Visitor - Western Bluebird?
Thank you to all the kind and informative responses to my WEBL post/inquiry yesterday -  Ryan, Dotty, Mike, Lisa, Nancy and here, David.The friend I was with when we saw this particular bird is a very knowledgeable birder and spends her summers near Gardiner, MT and often seems MTBL. So it was her knowledge that led us in the direction of it being a WEBL, but we didn't know they were so common in this area!So once again, thank you to all!This friend gave me a Chickadee birdbox several years ago, which I mounted in what we thought would be the most advantageous location on my property - on my garage. I have had the indescribable pleasure of watching the last 4 years as they finally found the box and have raised broods - twice in each of the last two seasons!!
Happy Birding and Happy New Year to all!

On Thursday, December 28, 2017, 7:45:04 PM PST, David Cook <justdave50...> wrote:

Hi Jim

I have 15 nestboxes that I monitor for WEBL and other cavity nesting species at Guadalupe Gardens and the Municipal Rose Garden. It would not surprise me that they are nosing around in other close areas for sources of food in the winter. WEBL hawk for grubs and other insect goodies on close cut grass during the nesting season, but as insect populations decrease during the winter, they eat berries and other fruit to make it through the winter. The Western Bluebird used to be known as the Orchard Bird due to its commonality in our area.  Remember the Blossom Tours  of yesterday? Massive development changed that.

I have about 60 nestboxes that I monitor in San Jose City Parks. This last year, I had 166 fledges: Western Bluebirds, Chestnut-Backed Chickadees, Tree Swallows, and Bewick's Wrens: although 9+ different species in our area may use our nestboxes.

I was part of a group of three founding members of SCVAS who started a program called The Cavity Nesters Program over twenty years ago in our county, but this project has deep ties to the North American Bluebird Society and the California Bluebird Recovery Project that  has been highly successful in helping secondary cavity nesting birds thrive in North America.

It would be my pleasure to show you how this monitoring process works( or anybody CC'D on this ). The nesting season will start in the Feb.-Mar. time frame depending on the nesting species. I am retired, so my schedule is fairly flexible.

Thanks for the bird spotting.

Dave Cook

On December 28, 2017 at 4:37 PM "<jim_irving...> [south-bay-birds]" <south-bay-birds-noreply...> wrote:


Today, Thursday at approximately 2:30pm my friend and I saw what we think was a drab adult Western Bluebird on 3rd St between Taylor and Jackson near Japantown. We are 95 percent sure, although we have a little room for doubt as it seems like an unlikely place to spot a Bluebird.
The size, bill, and demeanor fit the characteristics of a Bluebird, and the plumage was mostly gray with a faded rusty chest, a blue tail and coverts. It was a brief look, and neither of us recalls noticing an eye ring before we lost sight of it - probably due to surprise! We did comb the Sibley and also scoured online photos to help determine id.
Any thoughts?
Happy birding and New Year.



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