Manitoba Bluebird History

Cavity nesting Bluebirds were forced from their nesting areas when woodlands were cleared for agriculture and stiff competition from two non-native birds, House Sparrows and Starlings, also cavity nesters. Cavities are holes in trunks of trees usually made by Wood Peckers. Fewer trees and two more species nesting in the cavities, the Bluebird was forced from their nesting areas in Manitoba and other provinces. Here is a list of important dates in the history of the Bluebirds and the Trails:

  • 1959 John Lane, an avid bird watcher, noted that Bluebirds had not been sighted for thirty years in Manitoba.
  • 1960 John and Norah Lane formed “The Brandon Junior Birders” with a group of interested boys. Determined to bring the Bluebird back they built and placed many nesting boxes on fence posts along roads.
  • 1962 The Brandon Junior Birders saw their first Bluebird.
  • 1970 John Lane began banding the young Bluebirds.
  • 1970 to 1974 (inclusive) 10,433 Mountain Bluebirds and 1,975 Eastern Bluebirds had been banded.
  • By 1974 there were 4,500 nesting boxes on 1500 miles of Bluebird trails.
  • 1975 John Lane died. “Friends of the Bluebirds” was formed.