Bluebirds make comeback in Garry Oak ecosystem
The Cowichan Garry Oak Preserve in Maple Bay is an unusual place in itself and now it can add a feather to its cap since becoming the home of four newborn western bluebirds.
The chicks are the first ones to hatch in the Coast Salish area since 1995, according to Carolyn Masson with the Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team in Victoria, who calls it a significant development because the local population had become extinct.
“They need cavities to nest in, so holes in old trees or similar things,” she explained. “And those are at a premium for many reasons, one is general habitat loss, two, people tend to cut down old, dead trees.”
Masson and her recovery team are trying to reintroduce the western bluebirds to the region through a trans-location program, in which adult birds are brought in from healthy populations in Washington state. The Ecosystems Recovery Team is also working with the owners of the Garry Oak Preserve, the Nature Conservancy of Canada, which offered to be the host site for the trans-located bluebirds.
“We chose the Cowichan Garry Oak Preserve in Maple Bay because it’s a beautifully restored Garry Oak ecosystem,” she added.
The "Bring Back the Bluebirds” is a five-year program. Masson said they will be bringing up more feathered friends to join the four pairs of bluebirds already reintroduced in Cowichan.
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