There are three of us who are devoted to riding the bluebird trail every week from March through August, or whenever the last nestlings have fledged. We keep detailed records of each of the thirty-three nestboxes. We also are avid birders and spend time looking for and at birds as well as listening and identifying them by song, call, and chips. Every time we go out, there is something exciting for us to talk about with each other. It's pooled knowledge and our friendship has become solid because of it.
Although it is not necessary to have three persons to do our assignment, we like it this way because we have backup if one of us is not available on a particular day. One of us is a retired school teacher, another a retired power plant supervisor, and one is a retired manufacturing factory owner. Together it's an excellent team because of our broad background experiences.
The records that we keep on each box are kept in a large notebook. There is one sheet per box with information to be checked off or written in. The categories include: date, monitors' initials, partial or complete nest, number of eggs, number of chicks, and probable number fledged. The last category is always a guess as we usually don't know for sure that the chicks actually flew. They could have been attacked by predators, but we keep a positive view and count them as having fledged safely.
There are other records kept also such as location of the boxes and how the location affects the probability of box use. As a result of these records, we have moved unused boxes to locations that have resulted in nests in those boxes. We don't have it right yet and we expect to move a few more by the next bluebird season. Our project may not be of great interest to many folks but, to us, it's a fascinating study of the Eastern Bluebirds.