Written by Carolyn Greco, City of Dublin Volunteer
Molly Wilsbacher first glimpsed the striking azure of a bluebird flitting along Dublin’s walking paths.
“I’d never seen a bluebird in my life,” she said. “I want one of those in my yard!”
Molly first built her own backyard bluebird house in 2004 and learned as much as she could about their declining population. In 2011 Molly turned her backyard into a Certified Wildlife Habitat to help Dublin become a certified Community Wildlife Habitat.
Dublin is a part of bluebird conservation having created a bluebird trail of more than 50 wooden nest boxes in its many parks and natural green spaces. The Bluebird Team is a group of volunteers who monitor the trail’s nest boxes to identify and correct nesting problems in an effort to increase the bluebirds’ survival.
As Dublin’s Bluebird Team Leader and a staunch defender of her feathered neighbors, Molly keeps predators—mostly house sparrows—from harming other native cavity nesting birds, including tree swallows, chickadees and titmice.
“If you place a nest box in your backyard, please don’t put the nest boxes in a tree because bluebird nests will get invaded by predators,” she advises.
Raccoons, foxes, cats, opossums and other birds eat fledglings or eggs. Bluebirds are only found, and are native to, North America. They prefer to build nests in abandoned tree cavities. However, the continuing loss of natural nest sites to sparrows and starlings means that the beloved bird needs help to survive.
One of Molly’s fondest bluebird memories is watching a bluebird mother teach her chick to fly.
“The chick just didn’t get it on the first attempt, was very wobbly, and landed in the grass,” she said.
With her then 8-year-old daughter, they watched in fascination as the mother chirped encouragement to the chick as she provided repeated short flying demonstrations from the grass, then the retaining wall, then up to a low hanging branch. It was a good parenting lesson.
If you see Molly along the trail, please stop her and inquire as she’s always happy to talk birds—especially bluebirds!
Recruits willing to assist Molly and her team defend Dublin’s harbingers of happiness, please contact the Volunteer office via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Volunteer Spotlight series shines a light on the City of Dublin’s valued volunteers. To recommend a deserving volunteer, or to inquire about volunteer opportunities, email email@example.com.