2015 Missouri Bluebird Society Conference, Springfield, MO

October 5, 2015

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Letter from the President….

I always like it when the Eastern bluebird is present at the conference site. A bluebird trail was not only at the Watershed Center, but also at the field trip on Sunday at Lake Springfield, so we started each day hearing and seeing our beautiful Bluebirds!

As far as I am aware, our youngest conference attendee this year was Katy Samuel (14) and our most senior attendee was Russ Heindselman (87). I think that is terrific! I also think the 2015 Bluebird Conference was a great example of how MOBS aims to work with other fine conservation organizations in order to enhance conservation efforts everywhere. Individuals from at least three other conservation organizations contributed to the success of this year’s conference. Jessica Blomenkamp and Greg Swick are two of those individuals. Others are mentioned in this issue and we thank them all.

The Friday Bluebird Banquet was the beginning of a wonderful conference. This year’s “True Blue Service Award” had a special meaning for me because it went to two people that played an important role in my involvement with the Missouri Bluebird Society. They were actually instrumental in getting us on the right track. Steve and Cheryl Eno gracefully accepted a well deserved award for all they have done to help MOBS.

A “Certificate of Appreciation” was also given to Bluebirds Across Nebraska for their help in starting our Nest Box Grant Program with a very generous donation of boxes and poles. We know the history of Bluebirds in Missouri is rich in tradition. After Regina and I spent several months accumulating information about the bluebird conservation projects of Garden Clubs in Missouri, we are still learning how much we did not know! The “Federated Garden Clubs of America” were awarded the MOBS Bluebird Conservation Award for their important contributions to bluebird conservation dating back to the late 1930s and early 1940s and their local Southwest District was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation as well.

The dinner was catered by Bambinos Italian Restaurant consisting of a choice of four pastas, along with salad options, while MOBS members supplied a wide variety of desserts. Bambinos was recommended by members of The Greater Ozark Audubon Society and was an excellent choice fora nice meal. All left over food and snacks from all portions of the conference were donated to a local benevolent organization, “The Kitchen Inc” (www.thekitcheninc.org) via the assistance of our host hotel, the Greenstay Hotel & Suites in Springfield.

The Saturday morning bird walk around the Watershed Center resulted in 39 birds which included Pileated woodpeckers and bluebirds. While the walk was going on MOBS volunteers were busy getting the room prepared for the presentations and Larry and Mary Dobson, with the help of Ann Smith, were busy checking in more items for the silent auction and raffle. I want to thank new member Greg Samuel for graciously leading the walk and finding such a good variety of birds.

I look forward to hearing more about Jessica Blomenkamp’s trail (our first “Save the Clutch” baffle recipient and our wonderful keynote speaker). What a spectacular program the Green Leadership Academy for Diverse Ecosystems (GLADE) is! Jessica was a graduate of that program and it was a special treat to have the program’s Director, Greg Swick, both present information about GLADE and introduce Jessica.

The photos tell a better story than I can of all the fun during the conference. I would like to take time to sincerely thank all those who helped do the work for this

conference . So many folks pitched in to help out and it was greatly appreciated. Thanks so much also to our terrific speakers. I enjoyed every program and heard great comments from attendees.

Great job everyone!

I look forward to seeing everyone at the 2016 Missouri Bluebird Conference next June in Jefferson City. It will be MOBS 10 year anniversary – you won’t want to miss it.

Do what you can to help the Bluebirds,

Steve Garr

MOBS President


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2015 Missouri Bluebird Conference

June 15, 2015

Join us in the Missouri Ozarks
July 10th– 12th, 2015
The Watershed Center
2400 E Valley Rd
Springfield, MO 65806

Conference brochure with additional information can be found at the following link:
2015 Conference Brochure

Registration form for the 2015 conference can be found at the following link:
2015 Conference Registration Form

Spring 2015 Message from the President

March 30, 2015

Dear MOBS Members,

Well, in a matter of a few weeks we watched Bluebirds in our area go from collecting in large groups at bird baths and feeders, bluebirdsatbirdbath1 ( like this picture taken on my deck at home) to bluebirds being quite territorial and claiming nest boxes (like in the image below taken by Board Member Ann Smith at her home in Sullivan). I am looking forward to this year’s conference in Springfield where everyone can share last year’s nesting results along with their stories from this past winter. I for one had a good nesting season and a fantastic winter with the most Bluebirds I have ever had at one time. With the lack of natural food and the long stretch of below freezing temperatures, I had 10 to 20 Bluebirds frequent my deck every day for fresh water and snacks during February. The conference is such a good time to talk with others about their trails and share achievements. One thing I always enjoy at the conference, besides meeting up with old friends again, is the outreach that Bluebirds have in Missouri. Missouri has such an accomplished history of Bluebird conservation and we are benefiting from the years of dedication of garden clubs and individuals. The Bluebirds we see every day are a result of their dedication to conservation and what we do now on our Bluebird Trails is a part of the future for Bluebirds. As we continue to care for bluebird boxes in our yards and on our trails, we are continuing the tradition of Bluebirds in Missouri. Thank you for your continued dedication to helping Bluebirds.

Steve Garr, MOBS President


2014 MOBS Conference notes from President Steve Garr

July 18, 2014



I would like to give a special thank you to all who helped out and volunteered at the 2014 Missouri Bluebird Conference. We definitely have a special group. There were also members behind the scenes that also need to be thanked. They donated products for the auction / raffle or sent snacks and deserts with other members. Because we had so many volunteers there was always a helping hand when we needed something done.

This conference was definitely all about Bluebirds and how we can help them. It all started Friday evening with the Bluebird Banquet, the “Bluebird and Friends” slide show (thanks to everyone who sent in their pictures) and the presentation of Awards to very deserving MOBS members. It was a pleasure to present Russ Heindselman the MOBS “Bluebird Conservation Award” and Norm and Beth Stucky received the MOBS “True Blue Service Award” for outstanding service to the Society. We all enjoyed a fun and very special presentation by Bet Zimmerman Smith: “Bluebird Oddities”.

Saturday morning, Bet was again a joy to hear and her coverage of controlling House sparrows, House wrens and paper wasps was not only educational but very entertaining. We all appreciated Bet’s extensive perspective as a result of personal experience, but also the far-reaching source of data provided as a result of her educational website: www.sialis.org . We thank Bet for doing double –duty at our Conference this year with two special programs!

With sixty years of experience Russ Heinselman has seen almost everything pertaining to Bluebirds and he shared with us just some of the inventions he made to deter unwanted guest on the Bluebird Trail. Then lunch, and what a lunch we had with many mouthwatering deserts prepared by our members. Each year I enjoy the cooking talents of our members.

After lunch some of the ladies who had prepared just a few of the delicious deserts showed everyone how easy it was to prepare suet and treats for your Bluebirds. Regina, Mary and Ann, with assistance from Susan, made some of their favorite treats for their Bluebirds and many in the audience took home samples for their Bluebirds.

Steve Smith covered many of the different Bluebird nest boxes and the reason for their design. He could have spent hours covering all the design features and there were many functional designs on the raffle tables that he didn’t have the time to cover. One of the main things that he covered was what to look for in a good nest box for Bluebirds and answered every question with personal experience.

With this conference being so much about helping our wonderful Bluebirds it was a joy talking about predator control. When I put up a nest box I want it to be a house not a restaurant for predators. Ivan Ray Miller and Steve Smith helped me prepare the parts needed for the baffles. With the parts cut and drilled it made it simple to make 6 baffles for the MOBS grant box Bluebird Trails. We will be adding a page to the MOBS website with instructions for the new “MOBS Snake and Raccoon Baffle- Kingston Style”.

During each break participants had the opportunity to bid on the many auction items and of course stop at the refreshment tables and get energized. For the last three years Larry Dobson and his wife Mary have handled the auction and raffle. This is MOBS’ only fundraiser and it allows us to keep the price of the conference down and invite such excellent speakers and Bluebird authorities like Bet this year.

This was our first time to plan a Saturday evening event as part of the Conference and, thanks to the generosity of our hosts Norm and Beth Stucky, it was an enormous hit! Norm ordered up just the right amount of breeze to cool us off during the weenie roast, and Beth made “Killer Baked Beans” and put on a spectacular spread to go with our hot dogs and S’mores. They capped it off with a beautiful moon.

Just when we thought the Saturday evening social could not be topped, the Sunday morning field trip proved to hold even more fun and learning opportunities. We all toured the Stucky’s beautiful wildlife habitats and were entertained by their Bluebirds, Purple Martins, Orioles, Woodpeckers, Hummingbirds, and even a Mississippi Kite during one of the bird walks! (special thanks to Audubon member Betty Richey for leading that last bird walk around the wetlands!). In all, we spotted 47 different species on our Sunday field trip to Mockingbird Hill!

Our goal at MOBS is to help everyone with their Bluebirds and other native cavity nesters and the conference this year definitely fulfilled this ambition. Again, I personally thank everyone for so generously giving of your time and effort to make this an educational – and unforgettable- Missouri Bluebird Conference!

Do what you can to help the Bluebirds,

Steve Garr
MOBS, president

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Some of the events from the 2014 Missouri Bluebird Conference

Save the Dates!

March 16, 2014

July 11-13th, 2014

The 2014 Missouri Bluebird Conference

at the spacious meeting facilities of the
George Washington Carver Farm, Lincoln University
3804 Bald Hill Road, Jefferson City, MO 65101


It is undoubtedly the place bluebirders turn to most for all things Bluebird ! Bet monitors a 100 box trail of her own in Northeastern Connecticut.  She is a Board Member and Life Member of the North American Bluebird Society, and recipient of several awards and acknowledgements for her many conservation and environmental contributions.

NEW for this conference:

A special hands-on Workshop
“Building Nest Boxes AND Predator Baffles”

Plus a program on Feeding Bluebirds

You won’t want to miss the fabulous Field Trip to the very special farm of Norm and Beth Stucky! This property, on the bank of the Moreau River, is a treat to explore. It features a great variety of native wildlife on habitat that has been lovingly tended by the Stuckys. Naturally, there is a productive Bluebird Trail – Norm and Beth have been enthusiastic supporters of MOBS since its inception.

Of course…

the Event will include the annual “Bluebird Banquet” on Friday and a chance to visit with Bluebird Enthusiasts form across the state and beyond !

Registration and additional information can be found at the following link.

2014 Missouri Bluebird Conference

2013 MOBS Conference wrap up with President Steve Garr

July 28, 2013

Beautiful flowers at Powell Gardens in Kansas City
It just seems that the MOBS Bluebird Conferences get better and better. I was thrilled to be part of the line-up of speakers this time but quickly was humbled by the fantastic presentations from both Dave Tylka and Jim Rathert. Probably the only objection was that it ended too soon. Limited by room reservations at Powell Gardens and trying to squeeze in a two hour tour of the gardens before they closed made the day zoom by. Everyone was amazed at how thoroughly Dave would explain how much more birds benefited from native plants compared with non-native plants. After seeing how our native birds benefit from both the insects attracted to and the food produced by native plants, I will certainly give those plants greater priority in my own backyard habitat. Having Dave and Jim together with their wealth of information was almost overwhelming and they freely shared their knowledge with the entire group.

Jim not only shared his knowledge of photography and birds, he also designed and donated the beautiful name tags and the bookmarks that everyone attending the conference received.

I hope everyone took time to talk with and thank the volunteers that manned the MOBS registration booth and the product sales booth. And I certainly do not want to overlook the parade of volunteers who helped with move- in and then tear- down and move- out after the presentations were over. Many of you took home some fantastic items from the raffle and auction. Remember, we were able to keep this years conference so economical because of last years silent auction and raffle. The items you purchased this year will help keep the cost of next years conference affordable.

All of this would not have been possible and would not have run so smoothly without the time and preparation by the MOBS Board and this years Conference Chair, Larry Dobson. Larry along with his wife, Mary, also took responsibility for the silent auction and raffle. It seems like all the board members were doing multiple jobs. Ann Smith would be handing out name badges to attendees one minute and the next minute you would see her with a camera taking photos for the web site. I look forward to all the photos I know many of you were there and I didn’t get a chance to say hello. Susan Reinagel had one of the longest drives to the conference and started registering people as soon as she arrived.

I know many of you had a chance to stop by Steve Smith’s booth with questions on nest boxes for a variety of birds. Steve has agreed to share his passion for all the cavity nesters especially Bluebirds as one of our main speakers next year. It has been four years since Steve has done a presentation at a MOBS conference and many of our new members have not had the opportunity to learn from his years of experience.

Sunday could not have been a much nicer day and a great way to cap a wonderful conference. Everyone enjoyed the leisurely walk checking nest boxes at Loch Lloyd Golf Course. It was nice to see and experience their Bluebird Trail. The records that Carol and Betty keep along with their troupe of volunteers prove monitoring a nest box trail can make a difference. It was nice to see new clutches of Bluebird eggs in many of the nest boxes. I look forward to their year end report and the number of Bluebirds raised.

There were so many people who pitched in to help out at this years conference that I am sure I have overlooked some foks here, so I want to take this opportunity to say thanks now. Thank you! Your contributions really do make a difference and bluebirds and bluebird enthusiasts benefit.

See you at the 2014 Missouri Bluebird Conference, July 11th-13th, in Jefferson City!

Steve Garr
Missouri Bluebird Society, President

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Some of the events from the 2013 Missouri Bluebird Conference at Powell Gardens in Kansas City, MO

2013 Missouri Bluebird Society Conference Registration Form and Information

May 1, 2013

Click here for the 2013 Missouri Bluebird Society Registration Form.


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