BluebirdersBluebirder Bruce Burdett (1923-2013)

Bluebirder Bruce Burdett (1923-2013)

Bruce Burdett

Bruce Burdett single-handedly ran what he called “The Great Bluebird Conspiracy in New Hampshire. He also helped design a double roof to help protect nestbox contents from extreme heat.

Bruce Elwell Burdett, 89, of Sunapee, NH, died Sunday, April 7, 2013, at New London (NH) Hospital. He was the husband of the late Margaret (Stearns) Burdett.

Born June 3, 1923, son of the late Karen A. (Bagg) and Alfred W. Burdett, and stepson of the late Horace Gilbert, he grew up in West Springfield and later in Chatham, Mass. He graduated from Kents Hill School in Maine.

During World War II, Mr. Burdett served as a staff sergeant with the Third Army, 188th Combat Engineer Battalion, in Europe and during the Battle of the Bulge. He then graduated from Middlebury College, Middlebury, Vt., where he played on the basketball, tennis and track teams and where he also met his future wife Peg Stearns. He earned his masters degree from Brown University.

Mr. Burdett was a teacher and coach at Westminster School, Simsbury, Conn., where he was head of the foreign languages department. Over the years he taught French, Spanish, German and Russian and led student trips to Europe and Russia from Dartmouth College and Phillips Exeter Academy.

During retirement, he served for 23 years on the Sunapee Conservation Commission. He was the founder of the New Hampshire Bluebird Conspiracy which oversaw the spread of bluebird houses (many of which he built himself, others were built by inmates in the state prison) throughout the state.

A man of many interests and talents, he was an accomplished woodworker whose projects included superb fishing lures, duck decoys, furniture, his Bristol Bluefish fishing boat and, in his late sixties, a barn. Mr. Burdett was a skilled gardener, writer, a sponsor of prisoners both in Connecticut and New Hampshire, beekeeper and trainer of Labrador retrievers. A lifelong learner, he took courses until recently at Dartmouth’s ILEAD program.

He leaves three children, Carol (husband Dana) Guay of Southwick, Mass., Douglas (Sarah) Burdett of Greenwich, Conn., and Bruce (Jeanne) Burdett of Bristol, RI; and seven grandchildren, Bryan and Sheila Guay, Charlie, Lucy and John Burdett, and Erin and Kirstin Burdett.

His memorial service will be private. Memorial donations may be made to the scholarship fund at Westminster School, Simsbury, Conn., or to the William Hentz Scholarship Fund at Middlebury College.


Bruce wrote this poem:

The mewo is a tasty worm.
I like it.

It has a glabrous epiderm.
I like it.
I peck it ’til it’s good and dead,
And pulp it up, and smash its head,
Then feed my chicks and go to bed.
I like it.

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“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants”
– Isaac Newton


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