Bluebird Monitoring: Public Trails
About the Trails…
Our public trails are located at parks, preserves, schools and golf courses across Loudoun. The trails range from six boxes all the way up to 24. All of them have public access and places where we keep our supplies.
When do we check the boxes?
Monitoring runs from early April through the end of August. Monitoring teams form in March so we can prepare the schedules and train new monitors. Each monitor visits the trail one day a month. Monitoring a trail takes about 1-2 hours of time, usually on a Saturday or Sunday although trails along golf courses, such as Brambleton and Algonkian, may monitor on a Friday or Monday when there are fewer people.
Each public trail has a monitoring team. Teams generally consist of four people so that each person monitors the trail one day per month. Monitors use a standard monitoring protocol. The data collection forms are kept in a binder at the trail along with the monitoring equipment.
Supplies and Equipment
Each trail has a Bluebird bucket complete with the supplies needed to monitor the trail each week.
The trail leader or existing trail monitoring volunteer will train the new monitors, showing them what do to with the equipment and where to store it.
How do I join a trail team?
Each February or March, we reach out to the previous year’s monitors to find out who would like to monitor again. We also hold a Bluebird Monitoring orientation program for people interested in finding out more and volunteering for the coming season.
When you sign up, we’ll try to match you up with vacancies that are either on trails near where you live or on a trail that you specify. In some cases we may not be able to fit you to your first choice but we will try our best to make it work.
By mid-March we try to have all the trail teams set up so we can train new monitors and monitoring can begin.
Throughout the season, volunteers can post their observations on our Facebook page and ask and answer questions. It’s a nice way to hear from others who went out into the field, peeking in nestboxes, and to share our knowledge.