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Maynard Biodiversity Talks: Bluebirds

Updated: Jun 11

by Sarah Measures*

Ray Van Vorse has been instrumental in increasing the bluebird population in this area since 1962. His dedication to providing habitat for bluebirds in Maynard, Acton, and Concord has inspired many others to follow in his footsteps and continue his work. Now 95, he has slowed down a bit but is still actively managing the bluebird boxes in his Maynard riverside garden and keeping in touch with his helpers, including John Calabria, who joined me in interviewing Ray in the video below. You can also read more about Ray in this article from 2020 by Barbara Allen. (Find more resources on building and monitoring your own bluebird box below the photo gallery.)

Building and Monitoring Your Own Bluebird Box

Ray and John provided plans below for building your own nest box.

The North American Bluebird Society (NABS) says it's very important that bluebird nest boxes be actively monitored (checked) at least once a week. "A box that is not monitored may do more harm to bluebirds than good. Monitoring increases the chances of success for bluebirds using the box. When good records are kept, it is also valuable for determining population trends." Learn how to monitor your bluebird nest box.

*Biodiversity is an important measure of the health of our wildlife. The greater the variety of plants and animals, the healthier and more resilient the environment—and the better able it is to adjust to a changing climate.

So how do citizens of Maynard think about biodiversity, and what steps are they taking to foster it? What do people value about the wildlife in the gardens, woods, wetlands, and meadows in town? How and why do they cultivate biodiversity in their gardens? How do they protect and enhance biodiversity in the landscape? This blog attempts to answer these questions through conversations with a range of individuals with diverse viewpoints and approaches. We look at efforts both small and large, from the cultivation of a single Bee Balm plant in a pot to town-wide initiatives.

A bit about me: I am interested in the biodiversity in my garden, and my efforts have been rewarded with a steadily increasing range of insects, plants, and amphibians. But I am neither an expert gardener nor a botanist, so I am curious to learn from others. I bring my interest, my questions, and a desire to understand how people think and respond to a changing world.

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