AboutAbout the Webmaster (Bet Zimmerman Smith)

About the Webmaster (Bet Zimmerman Smith)

Bluebird couple, photo by Wendell Long
Photo by Wendell Long

I am passionate about fueling conservation progress through sharing. If you have corrections, input, comments or suggestions on this website, please don’t hesitate to contact me. My name is Bet, and my email address is ebluebird”at”charter.net (replace “at” with “@” symbol.) (I never spam – see my privacy policy).

email address for sialis.orgIf you have a question or bluebird emergency and don’t hear back from me right away, you might try one of these online resources:

If you have an injured or sick wild bird, contact your nearest wildlife rehabber: Locate Wildlife Rehabilitators.

I specialize in small cavity nesters and can’t help too much with other birds (e.g., identifying nests/eggs of open cup nesting birds.) I am a crummy birder and can barely tell a chipmunk chip from a Cardinal call.

What Sialis Means: No, it is not an erectile dysfunction drug (that one is spelled “Cialis.”) Sialis came first! It is the Latin name for the Eastern Bluebird species (Sialia sialis) although I have expanded the site to include all small cavity nesters (including Mountain and Western Bluebirds).

Why this website exists: I developed this website to share information with anyone interested in bluebird conservation, after so many others have helped me with answers and input. I started the website after seeing a great list of resources on the Bluebirding Forum. I maintain it out of gratitude towards all those who have shared their knowledge and experiences with me, and as penance for the mistakes I have made. It is free from the influence of advertising. I hope you find it useful.

I will be the first to admit that I am still learning, and welcome any feedback on how this site can be improved, as I want it to be accurate, reliable and clear. The website is always evolving and growing, so if you can’t find something, check the sitemap, or go ahead and contact me and I will send you a link if the information is somewhere on the site, or try to answer your question as best I can. (You might also want to check the resources listed above – I definitely don’t know everything!)

I’m grateful to Jim McLochlin for his generosity in allowing me to use content he collected over the years on his (now inactive) website known as The Bluebird Box under the auspices of the Audubon Society of Omaha.  Jim also ran the “Best of Bluebird Listserv” website that captured the wisdom of many renowned bluebirders.

About Me: Someone on a bluebirding forum once asked “Who/what is Bet?” I live northeastern Connecticut. In terms of education and work experience, I have a B.S. from UCONN, and an M.S. from Yale in Environmental Management, and was a Peace Corps volunteer in South America. I was a Certified Environmental Professional, and have worked in environmental protection since 1979. One of my goals in life is to leave this world not worse, or even the same, but better than it was before I got here.

I saw my first bluebird ever in Bickleton, WA around 1994. I saw my first Eastern Bluebird in the winter of 1998, when I was startled by a flash of blue by my home office window after my late husband Doug installed a nestbox given to me by a friend. (See Bluebirding for Love.) See my theories about why we love bluebirds. Realizing that bluebirds might be interested in nesting in the area, I set up a trail in 2004. Then they sort of multiplied. I have more than 110 boxes now in various locations and habitats – some of which were donated to me for testing. See details.

Most of what I know about bluebirds I owe to those who came before me. I believe that “We are like dwarfs on the shoulders of giants, so that we can see more than they, and things at a greater distance, not by virtue of any sharpness on sight on our part, or any physical distinction, but because we are carried high and raised up by their giant size. ” (John of Salisbury, Metalogicon, 1159)

Bet of Sialis.org
Me checking an experimental box designed by Tom Comfort – a cross between a Troyer and a Gilwood which he dubbed a Gilfort.

My Activities: I am a Life Member and Board Member of The North American Bluebird Society (NABS.) They were kind enough to recognize this website with the prestigious John and Nora Lane Conservation Award in 2008. However, please note that the information on Sialis.org is posted independent of NABS, and does not represent a NABS position or even necessarily agree with NABS recommendations.

I volunteer on the local Conservation Commission, and developed an educational website for them (which of course has a page on bluebirding). I also volunteer to conserve open space, which is critical to bluebird survival. Up until about 2009, I helped with the Best of Bluebird_L Classifieds, a resource Jim McLochlin of the Audubon Society of Omaha put together. It captures historical postings from the (now defunct) Bluebird Listserv and organizes them into categories. My favorite bluebird book is The Bluebird Monitor’s Guide by Berger, Kridler (a true Bluebird Hero), and Griggs.

I also belong to a number of State and local bluebird organizations. It is useful to provide trail data to local organizations and Cornell’s Nestwatch. For many years, I wrote a newspaper column on conservation and environmental protection issues for The Villager newspapers (www.ourbetternature.org).

In between, I work part-time from home for a non-profit research and development organization. My articles and photographs have been published in various publications, including Environmental Engineering, Environmental Management, Bluebird (The North American Bluebird Society journal), Birds & Blooms, Birdwatcher’s Digest, the Putnam Town Crier, Our Town, and non-profit organization newsletters. My photographs have been used by the National Park Service, CDC and NYDEQ, and published in Country Magazine, Cat Fancy magazine, and the Hartford Courant. Many other bird enthusiasts have allowed me to use their photos on this website.

A neighbor and wonderful friend, Joe Chapuis, helped me completely redesign Sialis.org in 2023 under a NABS Education Grant.

My geologist husband Doug helped install and repair nestboxes, and patiently listened to endless bluebird blather. Without him I never would have been able to make a go of 110+ nestboxes. He bluebirded for love. Doug died suddenly at the age of 52. I will miss him forever. He was my hero.

I remarried in 2013. Patrick was an avid observer of wildlife, and helped me with my trails until he too died in 2021.

Content Usage: I WANT people to learn more about cavity nesting birds. Non-profit organizations are welcome to use any of the content to write articles, with a citation please (see below and disclaimer). If it’s for a bluebirding newsletter, I’d enjoy receiving a copy. It helps me stay in touch with my inner bird nerd. Plagiarism for commercial purposes, or lifting content from the website without citation is NOT authorized.

All photos on this site are copyrighted, but you can contact me for permission for noncommercial use of any photos that I took myself, or I can try to put you in touch with other photographers. Most are very generous about sharing their work.

Disclaimer: The author does not make any warranty, express or implied, or assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, safety or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product or process disclosed on this website, or represent that its use would not infringe on privately owned rights. Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, link, or otherwise, does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the author.

Citation: If you are referencing information on this website, please keep in mind that I am constantly updating and correcting it as I learn more, find errors, and as new information becomes available. If you need a citation for referencing purposes, you can use this: Smith, Elizabeth Zimmerman. 2013 {replace with current year}. Sialis.org, Woodstock CT. Retrieved from Sialis online: http://www.sialis.org {you can add the specific address of the source page if desired.}

Thank you for visiting. But most of all, thank you for your own efforts to fill the skies with blue!

May all your blues be birds!
– Bet


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