The bounty of water and woods that characterize west Oakland County has always fostered a heightened sense of environmental stewardship among many lakes area denizens. This was the first part of the state to enact local wetland and woodland ordinances, for example, and our little corner of the world is often at the forefront of surface water monitoring and protection initiatives. It’s that reverence for the natural environment that we’d now like to call on in drumming up some additional volunteers to help the county Parks and Recreation Department continue one of its many worthwhile environmental programs.
The department’s Nestbox Monitoring Program, which puts up and maintains nestboxes for three native species of birds — including the eastern bluebird — could use some help from the public.
Oakland County has run its monitoring program since 2003 with the help of dedicated volunteers. It’s a very labor-intensive program, making the participating volunteers vital components of the endeavor.
Trained volunteers follow a code of conduct for monitoring, and report their field observations and results. In addition, they visit assigned nest boxes at least once a week during the nesting season, which is from April through July or August.
The Nestbox Monitoring Program is still looking for volunteers for the upcoming monitoring season. Volunteers are especially needed at Lyon Oaks County Park off Pontiac Trail, just west of Wixom and south of Milford Township.
According to Kathleen Dougherty, an education resources specialist with Oakland County Parks and Recreation, the area’s bluebird population has plummeted in recent years, due in part to the loss of habitat and competition from non-native birds.
Because bluebirds are cavity nesters that seek out old woodpecker holes in the wild, they are a prime candidate species to use a nestbox. Dougherty said the bluebird population can be easily recovered as long as people erect nestboxes to promote reproduction — which is precisely what the county’s Nestbox Monitoring Program is all about.
The program’s need for volunteers provides an excellent opportunity for interested people to make a positive difference in the area’s ecosystem. With volunteers’ help, the nestbox program can move forward and continue to restore a piece of the area’s environment. In doing so, it will promote a more stable, diverse and natural ecosystem that supports the area’s high quality of life.
People interested in volunteering can contact Dougherty at 248-858-0704 or email@example.com.