Indian Trail Master Naturalist Chapter work alongside Girl Scouts
On the afternoon of February 7th, the Indian Trail Chapter of Texas Master Naturalists and Girl Scout Troop 1741 established a new bluebird trail at Mockingbird Nature Park. The scouts, all in the 7th grade, are working towards their Silver Award. This level of scouting achievement encourages the girls to identify a need in their community and develop a plan of implementation. The Nature Park, located on Onward Road north of Mockingbird, is in the early stages of development for use as a natural learning area. The 64 acre parcel features low mown walking paths through native trees and open meadows. Samantha Armstrong, Hannah Bento and Dakotah Van Huss, together in the same troop since 2nd grade, developed a plan to build nest boxes to encourage bluebirds in our area. After an initial program presented to them by Lysle Mockler and Deborah Rayfield, Indian Trail Chapter members, they got busy building the proper boxes. The City of Midlothian Parks Department shared in the project by building baffles and erecting poles along the trail. The scouts will be monitoring the boxes throughout the nesting season.
If you are past the age to be a scout, but still enjoy being out of doors working with nature, please contact the AgriLife office (972 825-5175) for more information about becoming a Texas Master Naturalist. There is no age limit on learning.
Our girl scout troop was out at Mockingbird on Friday afternoon (April 22) checking the nest boxes. The first box, which held 5 eggs, showed signs that the babies had fledged! There were only 2 dud eggs left in the box. Three new baby bluebirds now grace the skies, isn’t that uplifting news? Another box still held a sitting Bewicks wren. The other 3 boxes were empty except for a couple of small red wasp nests. The girls soaped all the empty boxes, getting them ready for the next nesting opportunity. After bluebirds fledge, they spend about 2 weeks in the trees, close together, being taught by their parents how to hunt for insects. After that, the parents will begin to look for another nesting site. A lot of the time, if they are successful in one box, they will reuse that space. The scouts have set up a schedule where the trail will be monitored every 4 days, allowing each scout and her family to visit the boxes. They have also signed up with Nestwatch to report their findings.