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Bluebird lovers unite to rebuild nesting sites

Note: This article originally was published in the fall 2017 issue of Berry magazine.

Although Berry’s Bluebirds don’t have the fame – or legions of fans – enjoyed by the school’s high-profile bald eagles, bird lovers flocked to their aid last spring, contributing more than $5,600 to help rebuild their on-campus nesting sites. 

Dr. Renee Carleton, associate professor of biology, launched the “Adopt-a-Nest Box” campaign on Berry’s new crowdfunding portal, BerryFunder, hoping to raise $2,000 to repair or replace 50 nest boxes installed across campus in 2002. Soon after campaign launch, an email appeared in her inbox with an offer to match all gifts to the project dollar-for-dollar up to $2,500. 

“I was quite overwhelmed and, honestly, shed a few tears,” she said. 

News of the anonymous donor’s matching gift set Berry’s bird lovers a-twitter. Within days, the campaign goal had been exceeded by more than 150 percent – with gifts flying in from as far away as Canada. 

“I am humbled and honored by the response, support and generosity of everyone who contributed to the campaign,” said Carleton, who has many plans for Berry’s bluebirds. Along with replacing, repairing and adding new boxes, all will be outfitted with predator guards. Carleton also plans to upgrade and restart the bluebird camera that has allowed aviphiles far and wide to watch the wondrous creatures and plans to establish a bluebird trail adjacent to Berry’s Viking Trail that will feature 10 new boxes. 

This project is one of several special efforts championed by students, faculty and staff through BerryFunder. Another is a camera for Dr. Chris Mowry’s coyote research. Visit www.berry.edu/funder to see more projects completed or awaiting support. 

Photo by Gena Flanigen