Be a part of what's happening at Topsmead!
Bluebird Box Trail Project
5/13/2020 The bluebird box project keeps humming along! Janet Blauvelt, a Friends Board member and Chairperson of the Education Committee, leads the effort. Despite the impacts of the pandemic on operations and projects at Topsmead, she has been able to continue repairing the bluebird boxes and then checking on the occupants with a small volunteer crew. Last year she worked with local students from various schools on different aspects of the project. We hope to resume that program next season. The students helped inspect nesting boxes and recorded data on the bluebirds' and other birds' usage of them. The students also noted the boxes cleanliness and reported results to the Connecticut Bluebird Nest Box Survey and Peter Piccone, a wildlife biologist at Sessions Woods in Burlington. Students were also responsible for building new boxes and repairing old ones.
A SMALL REQUEST! The future success for bluebirds nesting in these boxes is that they feel secure doing so. The trail monitors this year have noticed some boxes left open indicating people have peeked inside. This is a critical time for the birds as they nest and lay their eggs. Leaving the boxes open can disturb this process and cause the loss of eggs or the death of young fledglings. The songbird trail is a wonderful opportunity for the everyone to view these lovely birds, but please keep your distance so we can encourage them to stay and there will be birds to watch for many seasons to come.
This project owes a big debt of gratitude to staff at Topsmead from Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection who partner with us in continuing our work on the bluebird box/songbird trail. As of April this year, there were some nests being built in several of the boxes and baby bluebirds cannot be far behind!
Monarch Butterfly Project
High school students from two schools are working with their teachers to collect Monarch Butterfly eggs, nurture them to hatching, and then tag the butterflies before releasing them.