All over the park are signs of spring. The grass is greener; bluebonnets, Indian paintbrushes and Engelmann’s daisy have all begun to bloom. The pecan trees, always the last to accept the change, have buds at the bursting point. You can see it in the wildlife as well. Birds are making nests all over the place! Currently, there are three black-crested titmouse nests in the park with a total of 23 eggs being kept warm, watched over and waited on. Each clutch of eggs is nestled down deep in a cup of moss, animal hair and snake skin – a favorite nest addition for the titmouse.
Keep your eyes open for birds moving around with grass and twigs in their mouths headed for a new nursery site. Already six eastern bluebirds have hatched and fledged using one of the seventeen mounted bluebird boxes located in the park. Bluebirds are always a treat to see and perhaps this season you will get to see the male eastern bluebird and his interesting attempts at attracting a mate. Males will gather nesting material in their mouths and fly in and out of the nesting site while flapping their wings, perching and generally making a scene in front of a female. That is the end of his help with the nest. Once mated, the females build the nest and incubate the eggs. Bluebird populations fell dramatically in the early twentieth century with the introduction of aggressive, non-native species such as the house sparrow and European starling. But, with rise in awareness of their plight during the 1960s and 70s, land owners began installing bluebird specific houses and bluebird trails. Bluebird numbers have been recovering ever since. Blanco State Park was fortunate to have a Boy Scout from the San Antonio area earn his Eagle Scout award by building twenty bluebird houses and installing them in the park last year. Staff and volunteers monitor these nests through the season to prevent house sparrows and wasps from taking up residence. So now there are six more beautiful, beneficial, bug-eating bluebirds out there to enjoy. Keep your eyes tuned to the signs of spring springing up all around you!
If you are interested in housing bluebirds, check out these websites for information on house dimensions and placement.
• North American Bluebird Society – nabluebirdsociety.org
• Sialis – http://www.sialis.org/
• Texas Bluebird Society – texasbluebirdsociety.org
Upcoming Events and Classes at Blanco State Park
• This Thursday, April 7, at 10:00am is Romper Rangers, the weekly class for 1-5 year olds and their parents. This week we will be learning about ants, their habits and doing an experiment on what they like to eat.
• Saturday, April 9, should be a great day to be outside. At 9:00am, join local birder Shirley Winslow at the new Wildlife Viewing Station to watch Birds at Breakfast. Head over at 10:00am for a guided hike along the Caswell Nature Trail to learn about local plants and animals and at 2:00pm join us along the banks of the river for Fish with a Ranger.
For details on these events or any other park happenings call 830-833-4333 or check out our Facebook page.