Outreach and Expansion Activities


Our program has grown over the years and we have learned much along the way. We are regularly contacted to share our experience and expertise. We have formed a collaborative association with local birder John Ellis, who has maintained and monitored nest boxes for cavity-nesting birds, including Kestrels, for over 30 years on his property. We were able to help him find ways to attract Western Bluebirds, who are now regular nesters in his boxes. And he was able to help us with some predator deterrent design features, which we have incorporated in our boxes.

John has kept extensive records, including photographic records, of the nesting birds on his property. We have instigated regular end-of-season meetings with John and others, in order to share observations, information and experiences.

Kestrel Nest Box at Quail Hollow

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Encouraged by John Ellis's experience with Kestrel nest boxes, we asked his help in finding an appropriate site for a Kestrel box at Quail Hollow. In late 2014 our team started working toward the goal of establishing the box and thanks to the work of many volunteers including John, David Hubbard (our box builder), Juan Rodriguez and his team from Lewis Tree Service, we were able to achieve this goal in time for the 2015 season. Unfortunately, although the Kestrel box was used, it was not used by Kestrels! A family of European Starlings moved in instead. Hopefully the Kestrels will eventually discover it.

Helping to Fledge New Local Nest Box Projects

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Asilomar State Park Project

In April 2014, Amanda Preece from Asilomar State Park posted to Monterey Bay Birds asking for assistance in starting a program to promote cavity-nesting birds. We and John Ellis responded with information and an invitation to come and see what we were doing. Three parks staff from Asilomar made visits to our project and John’s property, and then we went down to Asilomar with John to talk about building boxes and siting them in the park. The Asilomar boxes were built as part of a community day. Twenty-nine boxes were installed at the park for the 2015 season and 8 were occupied, one by a Western Bluebird.

Amanda has recently made a tour of our property and provided an updated GPS map showing the locations of all the boxes. We continue to collaborate and share information with the State Parks folks at Asilomar.

UCSC Arboretum

We also got a request from the UCSC Arboretum to help them get boxes up to provide nesting space for the Western Bluebirds who have overwintered there. Twelve boxes were installed for the 2015 season, and half of these were occupied. Although we were not involved in the building and siting of these boxes, we continue to be involved with an exchange of information regarding nesting, reporting, and predation issues.