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Vol. LXIV, No. 22
October 26, 2012

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2012 Final Bluebird Count Is In

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.

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