The NIH campus’s final bluebird fledging counts are in and “we did as good as
last year with 36 young birds flying away,” said NIH landscape architect Lynn
Mueller of the Office of Research Facilities in a recent note to bird enthusiasts.
“With the numerous stresses on nesting this year with record heat, lack of
rain for weeks, a severe wind storm, construction activity and the possibility
of West Nile virus still affecting songbirds, our birds did surprisingly
well,” he continued. “Thank you all again for your time and dedication to
this project that has now seen 11 years of bluebird husbandry on the campus
and the fledging of at least 283 new bluebirds into the environment.
“Hopefully, most of you will be able to return next April to again keep an
eye out for our beautiful bluebirds and the other cavity nesters that use
the boxes,” he said. “Together they consume enough insect pests that our
grounds maintenance has not had to spray pesticides on trees, shrubs and
grass for over 10 years now. These birds are really a game-changer for the
care and balance of our campus environment.”
Mueller launched the virtually natural approach to pest management at NIH
in February 2001 with 30 birdhouses, 3 roosting houses and even a couple of
bat houses erected around campus in hopes of attracting bug-eating species to
keep mosquito populations low.
Here are fledged bluebird counts by year: 2002-13, 2003-16, 2004-31, 2005-
36, 2006-37, 2007-14, 2008-29, 2009-20, 2010-15, 2011-36, 2012-36.