Community leaving legacy of beauty: Bluebirds
By DALE BRAKHAGE / Community Columnist
Have you seen bluebirds in Indian Springs lately? You are lucky, and not because mythology associates bluebirds with good luck. Eastern Bluebirds were disappearing in the 1960s and ’70s. Luckily, some Indian Springs neighbors loved bluebirds and helped bring them back.
In 1977, John Findlay III, “The Bluebird Man,” began by putting seven bluebird houses in Oak Mountain State Park. Each year he added houses and kept records of bluebird activity. In 11 years, his Oak Mountain Bluebird Trail produced 3,000 bluebirds! Findlay also taught classes about bluebirds. Oak Mountain Elementary students loved him. They made bluebirds their school mascot. Oak Mountain State Park honored him by re-naming its main thoroughfare John Findlay III Drive.
Today, Patsy Scott, whom some call “The Bluebird Lady,” continues the work. “I became interested in bluebirds when I saw one in my backyard,” recalled Scott. “Later, I read a newspaper article about Mr. Findlay. One day in 1990, I saw John checking bluebird houses by the roadside and I stopped to meet him.”
Since 1990, Mrs. Scott and her husband, Mark, helped Findlay. They counted hatchlings and kept records. Mark built hundreds of bluebird houses. Patsy, a teacher by profession, started teaching the classes about bluebirds. Today she organizes volunteers who monitor the Bluebird Trail activity.
“From March until July, each volunteer monitors about eight boxes every week,” she explained. “We count the eggs and baby bluebirds as they hatch. Anyone interested in volunteering should contact us. We will train you and you can start next March.”
Call also to schedule bluebird classes for your church or group. You can learn to build a bluebird house. Put one in your yard, and a beautiful pair of bluebirds may become your newest neighbors.
Contact Patsy Scott through the Birmingham Audubon Society at 714-8227.
Lately, a third generation is helping bluebirds. In 2012, Eagle Scout Andrew Edwards of Troop 5 refurbished the bluebird houses and GPS mapped them for volunteers. His younger brother, Daniel, monitors bluebirds.
“Over 17,000 bluebirds have hatched from these bluebird houses,” Scott reports. “Bluebirds are back.”
Dale Brakhage writes a weekly column about Indian Springs and its residents. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.