General News · 2nd March 2021
A joint project-FTCCIS & FOCI
Spring is in the air. March winds are stirring. Birds of all kinds, resident & migratory, will soon be readying for their great spring nesting activities.
The Forest Trust for the Children of Cortes Island Society (FTCCIS) and Friends of Cortes Island Society (FOCI) are collaborating on seasonal youth programmes. We are delighted to announce that the launch of our first joint project will be nest box kits available for families to assemble.
The project goals are two-fold: to increase nesting potential for birds and to involve families & community members in the engaging experience of birdwatching. We are targeting 3 bird species for this spring– violet-green & tree swallows and hairy woodpeckers.
Participating families will build and erect a nest box in their backyard or a nearby suitable location. They will be asked to monitor nesting behavior through the spring & summer, and to clean the boxes in the fall. Some nest boxes will also be put up in key community locations. We have designed the activity to be Covid-friendly. Interested families and individuals will be invited to attend a zoom talk on swallows given by George Sirk on March 17.
Both swallow species use the same nesting box design, but in different habitats, and are delightful to watch and listen to. Violet-green swallows will nest around human activity, so nest boxes work well in gardens and backyards for them. Tree swallows nest around wetlands, open grassland and pastures, and although they typically prefer tree cavities, they are known to accept nest boxes. Trivia question – how many mosquitos do swallows eat in a day?
The third species we are providing nest boxes for is the hairy woodpecker (9.5 inches) which is likely our smallest woodpecker, as the even smaller downy woodpecker (6.75 inches) is rare on Cortes Island. Hairy woodpeckers prefer coniferous forests, and will be the targeted bird species for our community nesting box dispersal. Trivia – who cares for the hairy woodpecker young?
Interested families can pre-order an all-complete nest box kit. Send an email to Christine, with ‘nest box kit’ in the tagline. The kits will be available for pickup on Friday, March 13, 12:00– 2:00 PM, outside the FOCI office. The nesting box kits are fully cut and are provided with the necessary hardware and information on assembly, monitoring and cleaning. All ready and waiting for you to put together! There are a limited number of kits available at a suggested donation of $10/kit so we encourage you to reserve your kit(s) in advance. We will be asking some families to assemble a second box for community placement, so please let us know if you are willing to assemble a second nest box.
Trivia answers: 1) 500-1000 mosquitos a day! 2) Both parents excavate nests and share parental duties.
The finished kit ready for a bird family.