Bluebird experts from around the state will be flocking to Mansfield this Saturday for the Texas Bluebird Society's annual summer symposium. Photo courtesy of Catherine Dale.
Aug. 19, 2014
By Minnie Payne
Bluebirders who put up bluebird boxes are usually very caring, optimistic people with good attitudes, says Keith Kridler, cofounder of the Texas Bluebird Society and coauthor of the Bluebird Monitor’s Guide. He also reports that about 20 percent of people in the United States watch, feed or have an interest in birds.
Kridler will share 50 years of experience tending bluebird boxes with beginners and veteran bluebirders at the 2014 Texas Bluebird Society Summer Symposium Aug. 23 at the Mansfield ISD Center for the Performing Arts. The all-day event will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Doors open at 8:30 a.m. for registration and silent auction. Cost is $6 and does not include lunch.
Right, renowned bluebird expert Keith Kridler autographs a bluebird nestbox.
A special screening of Bluebird Man, a half-hour documentary about 91-year-old Al Larson and his role in the recovery of the bluebird, will be shown during the first morning session.
“People will come with questions, which will be answered during a question and answer period,” Kridler informs. “You can bluebird for a long time, and have different issues such as predators and various problems that arise.”
Bluebirds are somewhat prevalent in the Fort Worth area, particularly along a bluebird trail set up my volunteers along the Trinity Trails adjacent to the Colonial Country Club. They also make their home at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden. The northern shore of White Rock Lake, around Flower Mound and Graham are also good areas for bluebird watching and nesters. Several schools in the Dallas area have put up nesting boxes.
Left, Bluebird Man will shown during the day-long event.
“They [bluebirds] like any kind of sports field, as well as cemeteries,” says Kridler. “They need about one acre of open yard, but they don’t care if it’s half an acre of your neighbor’s yard.
“They will nest in all types of boxes, but boxes built specifically for them are best.”
Nestbox offers will be available at the symposium. For a contribution of $15, you will receive a new Texas Bluebird Society membership and a free nestbox. Renewing members can purchase a nestbox for $10, plus tax, and nestboxes will also be for sale for $15, plus tax.
Texas Bluebird Society seminars have been held in Glen Rose, Gainesville, Mount Pleasant and Bastrop. This year’s DFW location presents an opportunity for North Texas school-age children to people in their 80s to learn, be entertained and meet other bluebird enthusiasts close to home.
The Mansfield symposium will offer displays, demonstrations and a silent auction fundraiser. Presentations include “Bluebirds & More,” presented by author and naturalist Keith Kridler during the morning and “Native Gardening to Attract Birds & Butterflies,” presented by Texas master naturalist Jim Varnum in the afternoon.
Above, get a Texas Bluebird Society nest box free with a $15 membership. Below, plants that provide food for bluebirds, via fruit or insects. Courtesy of the Texas Bluebird Society.
Kridler informs that bluebirds are an interesting topic, in that their family life is a lot like humans. Parents, as well as grandparents, watch out for the young.
Pauline Tom, president and co-founder of Texas Bluebird Society, also a bluebird enthusiast, says that people who live in the heart of the city also have an opportunity to attract bluebirds.
“Attendees can enjoy learning about bluebirds in general, as well as native gardening,” she says.
According to Kridler, bluebirds are one of the most popular birds in classical writing.
“Walt Disney’s productions had bluebirds in every single film,” he says. “They [bluebirds] make people happy and cause them to have a good outlook on life.”
Minnie Payne is a Carrollton-based freelance writer. She’s written for Pegasus News, Frisco Style Magazine and Seedstock. She presently freelances for Living Magazine, The Senior Voice and Your Speakeasy. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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