The Sky Meadows State Park. It consists of 69 bluebird nest boxes divided into 5 trail sections consisting of 12 to 20 boxes for each section.
Bluebirds at Sky Meadows State Park
In the summer of 2010, Timothy Skinner, Park Manager at Sky Meadows, requested that our chapter rejuvenate the existing trail. Through extensive research and planning, advice from other trail managers and previous experience, our chapter devised a plan that evolved to the present new trail, taking into consideration the parameters of the State Park, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
In several workshop sessions, VMN volunteers constructed 40 new bluebird boxes (plus 9 donated boxes), Noel guards and snake guards funded by the state park based on VBS plans. After the project started, a scout leader approached us for consideration of a project by a scout to earn his Eagle badge. The scout, Anthony Fala, proposed to build and install an additional 20 nest boxes. The park agreed to extend the area for installing nest boxes in a new location. Anthony applied for and received funding from VBS for the 20 nest boxes.
Installing Blue Bird Boxes at Sky Meadows State Parks
Upon surveying the site and coordinating with the park, survey flags were set for each nest box location for approval by the park before installation. VMN volunteers and the scout with his team were able to construct and install all 69 boxes complete with guards before the first monitoring date of the season.
There are two sections of the trail (Tree Swallow Lane and Bluebird Meadow) that have paired boxes following the plan of the original trail on the West side of the park in hopes of attracting Tree Swallows together. The three additional new trail sections in the park are single spaced (300 feet apart) in exceptionally good habitat for bluebirds. They are on the Gap Run and Rolling Meadows/Hayfield hiking trails along creeks with open meadows and scattered trees or tree lines.
The first egg date for the first nest box with Eastern Bluebird eggs was April 15
There are 24 monitoring volunteers scheduled on a rotating basis to monitor the 5 trail sections weekly, entering their observations in the trail forms. Monitoring started on March 25. To date we have eleven active bluebird boxes and two tree swallow boxes with nests with eggs or nestlings. The first egg date for the first nest box with Eastern Bluebird eggs was April 15.
Virginia Master Naturalists are dedicated volunteers
This wonderful bluebird trail is proof of what can be accomplished by the coordinated efforts of many conservation groups working together, either through funding, established data and protocols, great volunteer effort and the desire for conservation of our native cavity nesters. Virginia Master Naturalists are dedicated to the conservation of Virginia’s natural resources.
Learn more about the Virginia Master Naturalist Program here.
Please visit the bluebird trail at Sky Meadows Sate Park and enjoy the beauty of the trail and nature.
Sky Meadows State Park, 11012 Edmonds Lane, Delaplane, VA 20144-0710; phone: (540) 592-3556; Email,skymeadows.