Letter from MOBS President Steve Garr

Dear Bluebird Enthusiasts,

What a terrific Bluebird Conference! I want to personally thank everyone in attendance, all of the terrific speakers, the field trip leaders and the board members and Society members who all pitched in and took responsibility for various aspects of the conference. Great job!

We had 85 folks in attendance coming from eight different states and one Canadian province! We set records for both total attendance AND number of states/provinces represented. We also had a terrific showing from Missouri bluebirders all across the state. One of the best things about a bluebird conference is the networking and sharing of ideas with other bluebirders. This Conference certainly had a lot of that going on! With such a diverse group we were all bound to learn something.

Another important feature of this conference was the fact that it pulled together so many dedicated Conservation organizations. After all, our efforts with native-cavity nesters are just a part of a larger conservation picture. Brad Jacobs represented our own wonderful Missouri Department of Conservation, but we also had representatives from the North American Bluebird Society, Bluebirds Across Nebraska, and the wonderful (and supportive) folks from the Missouri River Bird Observatory.

Brad Jacob’s program, highlighting the importance of Bird Conservation on wintering grounds, revealed just how tuned in Missouri is to Conservation outreach which ultimately benefits Missouri wildlife. It was so great to see long-time friend Dr. David Pitts and his family and to get to hear David present his wonderful research again. Forty years of studying Eastern Bluebirds- what a wealth of knowledge he is! We received many positive comments about the program by Missouri Master Gardener Kris Leech. Kris, like most of us, has a special affinity for gardening with wildlife in mind. She gave us lots to think about as we arrange our yards and gardens to be “home” to everything from hummers to frogs to foxes- and bluebirds of course. And a new friend, Rich Stanton, presented an intriguing program about the possible reintroduction of Brown-headed nuthatches into Missouri. Rich and others have invested an impressive amount of time and work into gathering data related to this topic. I particularly appreciated how Rich detailed the steps by which a species is re-introduced into an area – and since the Missouri Bluebird Society is concerned about all native cavity – nesters , it was great to see such concern for this small but quite special primary cavity-nester.

One of the highlights for me at the conference was getting to see the “Bluebirds & Friends” slide show featuring YOUR bluebird photos . It was great to see the pictures our members sent in of the birds in their yards and trails , set to music, and on the “big screen”. This is a tradition I hope MOBS will continue. Thanks to everyone who emailed us pictures of your birds and trails.

For those who were unable to attend the Bluebird Banquet on Friday evening, I have included here a photo of the very deserving Jim Rathert receiving the Society’s first ever “True Blue Service Award”. Jim has been a faithful charter member, charter Board Member, and supporter of MOBS since it’s inception in 2006. He played a very important role in the establishment of the Missouri Bluebird Society when he first accepted responsibility as a Board member, and he’s been supporting MOBS with his actions and hard work ever since. Thank you Jim!

I am certainly looking forward to the next Missouri Bluebird Conference at Powell Gardens July 13, 2013! However, we do have some wonderful get–to-gathers planned before then so Keep an eye on The Fledgling newsletter and on the website .

I look forward to seeing you soon and I thank you for all you do for the Bluebirds!
Steve Garr
Missouri Bluebird Society
President

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