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New bluebird fans showing their hand-built nests and egg.

Bluebird Education on Military Lands

By Christa LeGrande

On Saturday 26 July, we hosted a bluebird education program on Joint Base Lewis-McChord Military Base (JBLM) with a small group of military families. The families that participated in this event have been a support system for each other and for me while our spouses are deployed or locally-stationed, making this event particularly special. The goal of this pilot program was to use our bluebird monitoring program at JBLM to introduce families, particularly youth, to the conservation value of military lands, lands that will likely serve as their homes for the foreseeable future.

It was a gorgeous day, as often is the case in the South Puget Sound in summertime – Mount Rainier juts out of the clear blue horizon beyond the airfield, where Chinooks and Apache helicopters wait to be flown, and tree branches lightly sway in a cool breeze. Only 70 meters from where the education tables were set up, a bluebird box on a small Garry Oak tree held five 9-day-old bluebird young. While we were setting up, bluebirds moved from tree branch to tree trunk to grassy ground in search of food, such as moths, grubs, beetles, or crickets, for themselves or their still-growing young.

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Looking for bluebirds in an oak grove.

As part of the