The Ohio Bluebird Society’s (OBS) story began in 1987 and they combat negligence with education. According to their mission statement, their purpose is “supporting the return and the perpetuation of the Eastern Bluebird and other native cavity nesting birds in Ohio.”
The OBS website also explained that bluebirds were very common in rural Ohio in the early 1900s. Cold winters, habitat changes and various other human endeavors resulted in a decline of 90 percent from 1920 to 1970.
Though the bluebirds are making a comeback, it is not without the vigilance and efforts of humans.
The OBS will be delivering education on birds, bats, butterflies and bees at their annual conference on Saturday, Feb. 25, at the Arden Shisler Center for Education and Economic Development, 1680 Madison Ave. in Wooster. Registration begins at 8 a.m. and the day concludes with door prizes at 3:30 p.m.
“This year we’ve diversified a little bit—taking advantage of the extreme talent we have in the area,” said Marcella Hawkins, special events chair and treasurer of OBS.
Their theme is Celebrating Things with Wings, and it’s fitting. Those interested in bluebirds likely have a fascination and appreciation for other creatures in nature.
“Steve Smith, of A&E Enterprises, is conducting a fundraiser for the event. Attendees can take in photos and he will scan and put them on a flash drive or memory stick that can be picked up at the end of the program. Attendees should provide a flash drive or memory stick. Steve will donate 20 percent of gross sales to the Ohio Bluebird Society, which is a 501(c)(3) organization,” Hawkins explained.
Mel Bolt will deliver the first presentation, on the changing behavior of bluebirds. Don Plant will provide a better understanding of bats and Chuck Jakubchak will talk about different kinds of birds. At noon, the Medina Raptor Center will present some of their raptors in rehabilitation.
Following lunch, the Blue Feather Award and Wildlife Conservation Award will be presented.
The Blue Feather Award honors the accomplishments of an OBS member in the arena of bluebird conservation and management. The Wildlife Conservation Award recognizes individuals and organizations that work to support a strong conservation ethic in Ohio.
After the awards, Lynda Price will give a presentation on butterflies and Dr. James Tew will discuss the relationship between bees and bluebirds.
Hawkins noted that many misconceptions about the different creatures would be dispelled at the conference. Essentially, knowledge offers a deeper understanding of nature.
Community members can help by displaying nesting boxes in appropriate locations while monitoring those boxes to correct any concerns that arise. They can keep records of the information and plant berry bushes for winter feeding for the bluebirds.
“There’s so much to learn and we want to get more young people involved,” Hawkins continued.
To begin that process of getting young people involved, children will be taught how to construct a nesting box from 12:30 to 1:30 at the conference.
“A lot of kids have no idea about how bluebirds survive, how bluebirds nest and what problems are involved in trying to help them. But once you take them out on a field trip and get them involved, they’re hooked,” Hawkins added.
To preregister for the event, visit http://www.ohiobluebirdsociety.org, print the registration form and mail it in. The conference is free, but there is a charge for lunch. Walk-ins are also welcome.
Any businesses interested in submitting something for raffling can contact Marcella Hawkins at 330-465-6987. She can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information on participating in OBS and protecting bluebirds can be found on their website. For specific information on developing a nesting box, visit the instructions at http://www2.kenyon.edu/bfec. After arriving at the site, click Resources, then Build Your Own Bluebird Box.
Published: February 8, 2012