Volunteers walk portions of SERC’s bluebird trail once a week and collect data from our 48 nest boxes. Several different species of cavity-nesting birds call our boxes “home”, including Eastern Bluebirds, Carolina Chickadees and Tree Swallows. By looking at the nests and eggs inside the boxes, volunteers determine who is living there, and for how long. This data is then analyzed to find population patterns.
History of Bluebird Boxes
Bluebirds have long been a symbol of happiness, good health, and hope. For hundreds of years, humans have used nest boxes to facilitate cavity-nesting bird populations such as bluebirds and martins, which brought good luck and reliable food sources through their eggs. However, their value goes beyond symbolism and into the realm of insect control, as nest boxes are used on farms and orchards to protect crops.
As a result of climate and land use changes, Eastern Bluebird populations reached record lows in the late 1960’s. These cavity-nesting birds lost much of their habitat as forests were cut for expanding communities and agricultural purposes. In 1978, the North American Bluebird Society was founded to promote the recovery of Bluebirds and other cavity nesters. Since then, volunteers have been designing and developing bluebird boxes and trails. Bluebird boxes and trails have popped up all over the United States, including SERC’s 2,650 acre campus.
SERC’s bluebird trail, consisting of 48 bluebird boxes, is monitored by volunteers to document bird activity as the world around us continues to change. For over ten years, SERC’s bluebird trail has been providing essential habitat for Eastern Bluebirds.
SERC is open to the public Monday-Saturday 9am-4:30pm. Our campus is a birding hotspot for Anne Arundel County—you’ll see a variety of different birds, animals, and plants as you walk our trails (link to trails page). While you are free to explore and take pictures, we ask that you respect the nests and boxes that our birds call home.
If you are interested in volunteering to monitor SERC’s nest boxes, click here to visit the "Get Involved" page for more information about the project, including age restrictions and schedules.