Readers of this column will know that I have spent much of my life watching and studying mountain bluebirds. From starting my own small bluebird trail as a young teen on our family farm north of Rimbey to a career dedicated to carrying on the legacy of bluebird legends, Charlie and Winnie Ellis, bluebirds have been near and dear to my heart.
It has been my privilege to share my love of bluebirds in various ways — from collecting data, banding, conducting research and writing scientific articles to writing books and delivering presentations to both children and adults. In 2002, the Red Deer River Naturalists teamed up with Mountain Bluebird Trails, Montana, (MBT) to publish the Mountain Bluebird Trail Monitoring Guide. A PDF of the book can be downloaded from the RDRN website: rdrn.ca/programs/mountain-bluebird-trail-monitoring-guide/. Copies can also be purchased through my website (see below).
In 2009, I again teamed up MBT to write a bluebird book for children — Children’s Bluebird Activity Book—which can be downloaded as a PDF from the MBT website: Go online at mountainbluebirdtrails.com and click on Children’s Activity Book from the top menu.
In 2020, the North American Bluebird Society (NABS) asked me to write another book about bluebirds – this time for young adults. Get to Know Bluebirds: A Guide for Young Nature Lovers has been recently published and is available as a downloadable PDF from the NABS website: nabluebirdsociety.org/publications/. This book was challenging because it covers all three species of bluebirds, but it was inspiring to connect with bluebird friends and colleagues from across the continent and to meet bluebird photographers from coast to coast – all of whom were happy to share their beautiful photographs. The plan is to eventually get this book printed.
It is hard to believe that the bluebirds will start showing up in Central Alberta within the next few weeks! If you would like to help bluebirds by setting out boxes or starting a bluebird trail, these books have all the information you need, including plans for nestboxes that work well in this region. Boxes should be set out by the middle of March. Sadly, mountain bluebird populations across most of their range were at an all-time low last year. Let’s hope their numbers rebound this season.
Myrna Pearman is a retired biologist and a keen nature writer, photographer and backroads rambler. The books mentioned above can also be accessed from www.myrnapearman.com. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org