Bluebird Haven

By | March 22nd, 2018

The initial bluebird pair at Tavistock CC nested near the 17th fairway, and a guard was installed to deter predators, such as snakes and squirrels, from entering the box.

Tavistock CC has played a role in helping the bluebird population in New Jersey by installing specially designed boxes.

For 14 years, Tavistock Country Club in Haddonfield, N.J., has played a role in helping the bluebird population in the state rebound by installing specially designed boxes to attract the songbirds. The program started as an effort to increase the wildlife population at the property, says Golf Course Superintendent Victor Federico, and as a catalyst for the club to become a member of The National Audubon Society.

In 2004, Chuck Kanupke, a member of Tavistock CC’s greens committee at the time, was “instrumental” in helping the program get started. “[Kanupke] helped the grounds staff identify areas where bluebirds would be attracted to, and ultimately the placement of the boxes,” says Federico.

To avoid predators, bluebirds prefer to live near wooded areas with little underbrush. The Tavistock property now has four bluebird boxes located throughout the golf course, as well as two large purple martin “motels” on the 6th hole that have been occupied by barn swallows, Federico says.

When the boxes were installed, several members of the club were also members of the New Jersey Bluebird Society (NJBS), and they assisted with the program’s development as well. Beyond simply cleaning out the boxes in the spring, they require very little maintenance, Federico says.

Across the state, the efforts seem to be working. In 2017, the fledged bluebird population reached 3,386 (of those reported to the NJBS), compared to 2,228 the year before, and 2,126 in 2015.

Tavistock CC has also participated in the annual Audubon Christmas Bird count—and beyond bluebirds, Federico says, some of the species identified on the property include morning doves, American robins, goldfinches, hairy woodpeckers and red-tailed hawks.

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