Bluebird and Small Cavity Nester Conservation
Sialis - Bluebirds and other small cavity nesters
 
 

printer friendly pageAnswers to the Eastern Bluebird History Quiz

1. Name the 1946 Disney Movie featuring the tune "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah."

In Song of the South, Uncle Remus sang Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah, which won the 1947 Academy Award for Best Song (words by Ray Gilbert, music by Allie Wrubel, voice of Remus by James Baskett, recorded and popularized by Johnny Mercer and the Pied Pipers). The lyrics are:

Zip a dee doo-dah, zip a dee ay
My, oh my, what a wonderful day.
Plenty of sunshine headed my way.
Zip a dee doo-dah, zip a dee ay

Mister bluebird on my shoulder
It's the truth, it's actual.
Everything is satisfactual.

Zip a dee doo-dah, zip a dee ay
Wonderful feelin'.
Wonderful day.

2. The Eastern Bluebird is the state bird of ________ and _________.

The Eastern Bluebird was designated the State Bird of Missouri in 1927; and of New York in 1970, despite one delegate's comment "I think this is a bit premature. After all, who has ever seen a bluebird, except perhaps on the cover of a greeting card?"

The Mountain Bluebird is the state bird of both Idaho and Nevada.

3. " Without question the most deplorable event in the history of American ornithology was the introduction of the ___________ ." -W.L. Dawson, The Birds of Ohio , 1903

The English (or House) Sparrow. The population of House Sparrows exploded after their introduction to the U.S. in 1850/1851, resulting in agricultural damage. House Sparrows also aggressively compete with other cavity-nesters such as the bluebird, destroying eggs, nestlings and adults.

4. Who said: " Who has decided - who has the right to decide - for the countless legions of people who were not consulted that the supreme value is a world without insects, even though it be also a world ungraced by the curving wing of a bird in flight ?"

In her 1962 book "Silent Spring," Rachel Carson expressed concern about the impact of DDT and other pesticides on bird populations. She noted " Over increasingly large areas of the United States, spring now comes unheralded by the return of the birds, and the early mornings are strangely silent where once they were filled with the beauty of bird song." DDT was used widely in the U.S. from the late 1940's through 1972, with usage peaking in 1959, to kill disease vectors such as mosquitoes and agricultural pests. However, DDT bioaccumulates, and as the concentration in birds fatty tissues increases, egg shell thickness decreases.

5. Name birds or animals that will attack eggs/nestlings/adult bluebirds in a nestbox.

The raccoon, feral cat, opossum, black rat snake, House Sparrow, House Wren, bluejay, starling, red-headed woodpecker (eggs and nestlings), red squirrel, and gray squirrel may prey on eggs/nestlings or adult bluebirds inside a nestbox. Properly designed boxes and predator guards can minimize the likelihood of successful attacks by raccoons, cats, snakes, starlings and squirrels. Other predators of fledgling and adult bluebirds include the red tail hawk, sharp-shinned hawk, and barred owl.

6. Name birds that will nest in Eastern Bluebird nestbox.

Cavity-nesters that will utilize bluebird nestboxes include: House Sparrow, House Wren, Carolina Wren, Bewick's Wren, Tree Swallow, Great Crested Flycatcher, Black-capped Chickadee and Tufted Titmouse. See Photos. Occasionally flying squirrels will inhabit nestboxes, and bumblebees may use an abandoned chickadee nest.

7. Who recorded "I Wish You Love" (". I wish you bluebirds in the Spring, To give your heart a song to sing, And then a kiss, But more than this, I wish you love! ") in 1946.

Frank Sinatra recorded this tune written by C. Trenet, and translated to English by A.A. Beach.

8. Between 1926-1938, which of the following established bluebird trails?

a. Thomas E. Musselman, Illinois
b. Amelia Laskey, Nashville
c. Junior Audubon Club of Missouri
d. The Better Garden Club of Missouri
e. All of the above

All of the above established trails. It is interesting that recognition of decreased bluebird populations occurred so early. The grassroots nature of bluebird conservation is also noteworthy.

9. What was the year of publication for Larry Zeleny's (founder of NABS) article in National Geographic entitled "Song of Hope for the Bluebirds"?

June 1977. This was the first article in a large, general-interest publication to highlight the bluebird's plight, and it resulted in a groundswell of support. The following year, Zeleny officially founded the North American Bluebird Society.

10. In 1970, Lorne Scott of Saskatchewan was single-handedly monitoring a bluebird trail with #____ boxes.

2,000 boxes. This may be the largest trail handled by one individual.

Bonus questions:

11. The bluebird appears on a ___ cent stamp issued by the U.S. Postal Service.

The Eastern Bluebird appears on a three cent stamp issued in 1991, and again in 1996. The 1991 stamp does not have a "¢" symbol after the number 3. On1982 the U.S. Postal Service issued a State Birds and Flowers 20 cent stamp series for all 50 states, with the bluebirds painted by Arthur Singer depicted on stamps for Idaho, Missouri, Nevada and New York. The Mountain Bluebird appears on a 25 cent stamp issued for the Idaho Statehood Centenary in 1990.

12. In early records, the bluebird was referred to as (check all that apply)

a. Blew Bird
b. Blue Robin
c. Blue Warbler
d. Blue Bonnet
e. Blue Redbreast

All but "d". In 1722, Mark Catesby, an English artist, published The Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands, which included one plate entitled "The Blew Bird." He noted "They make their nests in holes of trees, are harmless birds, and resemble our robin-redbreast." Like Robins, bluebirds are members of the thrush family.

13. What color are bluebird eggs?

Typically blue (darker blue than a robin's egg.) About 4-5% of bluebird eggs are white. Birds hatching from white eggs have normal pigmentation. Pale pink eggs have also been reported.


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