Dave Scott Bird Trail Program 2020

By Sarah Lucas and Brenda Ecken
Courtesy of Skidaway Audubon

The Dave Scott Bird Trail is one of the many Skidaway Audubon projects that help educate, engage, and enhance our island! It has been active since the early 1990s. Where is the Bird Trail?  There are 200 bird houses on posts with baffles along the six Landings Club golf courses -- one to three bird houses on each hole of every TLC course. You will see two bird houses at the Sparrow Field and one house as you enter and exit the Main Gate. How do you know it is a Bird Trail house? The Trail houses proudly display our bluebird logo! 

The total number of fledglings this year set a record at 1,452. Our fledglings include our beloved Eastern Bluebirds, the entertaining Brown-headed Nuthatches, and adorable Carolina Chickadees. We believe the fledgling numbers for brown-headed nuthatches rose due to the many successful nests using the Portals and Pairing houses! Many thanks to all of our Adopt a Nest Box donors!

At the start of every nesting season, our 12 monitors begin heading out on the trails weekly. We start as early as mid-February, when the Brown-headed Nuthatches begin building their nests and monitor through the end of August. The nuthatches usually nest first, then the bluebirds and chickadees will decide it is time to nest too! The nuthatches and chickadees usually nest once each season, while the bluebirds may nest two or even three times each season.

This is all made possible due to our dedicated monitors, The Landings Club and the carpenter shop, Skidaway Audubon and its donors, and Pat Wolters with Orphaned Bird Care. Al Townsend meticulously rehabbed Trail houses to get them back out on the trail and the Woodworkers Guild and Rod Selby built new houses, some from donated cedar. If you know anyone working with cedar wood, we welcome cedar wood donations, including the scraps from any home repair projects.

Recently, Diana Wilson was presented with a plaque for more than 15 years as a Bird Trail Volunteer. She began by monitoring the Front 9 of Magnolia for seven years, then transitioned to monitoring the Front 9 of Marshwood. Diana has fond memories of her 15 years (and counting) as a monitor.

“I’ve loved all phases of monitoring from cleaning the houses in February to waiting for first the nests, then the eggs and, of course, the hatching is special,” she said. “To watch the cycle of hatching to fledging is always awe inspiring. I love it!” 

We welcomed four new monitors this year! Sheila Stallings monitored the Front 9 of Deer Creek and Nancy McGirr monitored the Back 9 of Deer Creek. We now refer to the Deer Creek trails as “The Sisters’ Trails”. They were monitored by sisters, Rhea Myers and Aletha Dunlavy, for almost two decades. Betsy Evans completed the season for the Back 9 of Marshwood. Marie Selby monitored the Back 9 of Terrapin Point this year.

Returning monitors are Susie Fusco (Front 9 of Magnolia), Betsy and Paul Bratz (Back 9 of Magnolia), Diana Wilson (Front 9 of Marshwood), Frank Bell (Back 9 of Marshwood), Al Townsend (Front 9 of Oakridge), Sarah Lucas and Brenda Ecken (Back 9 of Oakridge), Gerri Schrimacher  (Front 9 of Palmetto), John Gardner (Back 9 of Palmetto), and Dianne Wergley  (Front 9 of Terrapin Point).

The annual award for the ratio of houses to the number of successful fledglings of nuthatches, chickadees, and bluebirds came in at 8.86 on the Front 9 of Deer Creek with monitor Nancy McGirr. The award for the most fledglings goes to Al Townsend, monitor of the Front of Oakridge, came in with 156 total fledglings. This year we introduced the Brown-head Nuthatch and Chickadee trophy, hand-crafted by artist Al Boyce. The winner of that trophy goes to Marie Selby for her special nuthatch story from her trail on the Back 9 of Terrapin Point.

This year Sarah Lucas (monitor for 13 years) and Brenda Ecken (monitor for 3 years) stepped in as co-leads for the Bird Trail and served as Skidaway Audubon Board members. If you have any questions or see a bird house that needs tending, please email us (ForTheBirds430@gmail.com).

Visit Skidaway Audubon’s website (www.skidawayaudubon.com) or Facebook page to learn more about the Adopt a Nest Box and Sponsoring a Trail opportunities. Visit Bird Trail Travels (www.birdtrailtravels.shutterfly.com) to learn more about each of our nesting species through articles, stories from the Trail, photos, and videos.

Monitors and Volunteers Zoom Celebration







Carolina Chickadee Mama with nestlings








Brownheaded Nuthatch with nestlings














Bluebird fledgling










Photos By Sarah Lucas and Brenda Ecken

This article was originally published by The Landings Association on their website.

Visit landings.org to read the original article.