Keller Golf Course in Maplewood isn’t just a haven for urban golfers. It’s a haven for urban Eastern Bluebirds.
With more than 30 bluebird nestboxes it’s easy to see why Keller has been certified an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary by Audubon International.
What does that mean for WRC? Not only does it mean we get to establish ties with community leaders (in fact, our Executive Director Phil Jenni is on the Ramsey County Park Commission), it means we have lots of bluebird houses nearby that can be used for wild fostering of orphaned bluebirds. It’s a tricky business, this wild fostering. The birds have to be within a day, possibly two, of the other birds and that’s difficult to find in the wild.
Last week, Golf Course Superintendent Paul Diegnau met me at the maintenance building and we headed out across the course with a cardboard box containing two tiny bluebird nestlings that had been orphaned:
We headed to a bluebird house on the course that Paul had been monitoring. It’s in a gorgeous setting; bordering restored prairie habitat. In the house? Five wild bluebirds being well-tended to by their parents.
Paul carefully added two more chicks to the house:
And then we sat back and watched for a half hour to make sure the fostering had been successful. The female bluebird returned and perched on a nearby house for 10 minutes before entering her house. We were guessing that maybe she can distinguish her own nestling calls from the two new birds and was wondering about the new sounds.
In any event, she went in, checked things out and then continued on her daily pattern of catching bugs and bringing them back for now seven hungry mouths.
Paul followed up on the bluebird nest the next day, just to make sure things were going well. All seven chicks were active and alert, gaping to be fed.
With this wild foster we continue an amazing streak of 100% success in fostering orphaned bluebirds into wild homes. Many thanks to Paul Diegnau, his staff, and Keller Golf Course for welcoming two more bluebirds to their community.
note: If you monitor a bluebird trail in the Twin Cities and wish to be added to our list of resources for wild fostering, please email me and let me know your location and the date of your most recent egg hatch or, if you’re into your second brood and the eggs haven’t hatched yet, email me when they hatch.