The San Juan Islands Western Bluebird Reintroduction Project announced the release of six Western bluebirds into the San Juan Valley area on San Juan Island.
All three pairs of bluebirds showed no hesitation in exiting the aviaries where they had been held temporarily following their capture from the Ft. Lewis prairie, south of Seattle. Seven more pairs are planned for release on San Juan this year as part of a five-year plan to reestablish a breeding population of this native songbird.
Last year, 16 Western bluebirds were released on San Juan Island; one of the eight pairs nested and raised the first Western bluebird juveniles in San Juan County in over 40 years. The San Juan Islands Western Bluebird Reintroduction Project plans to release 90 birds during duration of the project. Release areas will initially be concentrated in San Juan Valley, due to its ideal bluebird habitat. Since the project’s inception in 2007, nearly 200 nest boxes have been placed in open habitat and Garry oak woodlands throughout the county.
Islanders are encouraged to watch for the Western bluebirds (visit www.sjpt.org for info). A “bluebird hotline” number has been set up for sighting information (360-298-2822). For information about the project, call 378-2461 or 378-3068.