President’s Message

Welcome to the New York State Bluebird Society!

Jenny Murtaugh, NYSBS President
Jenny Murtaugh, NYSBS President

“The bluebird is well named, for he wears a coat of the purest, richest, and most gorgeous blue on back, wings, and tail; no North American bird better deserves the name, for no other flashes before our admiring eyes so much brilliant blue. It has been said that he carries on his back the blue of heaven and the rich brown of the freshly turned earth on his breast; but who has ever seen the bluest sky as blue as the bluebird’s back?” (Quote describing the Eastern bluebird from the Arthur Cleveland Bent series on the Birds of North America.)

The bluebird is a visitor and inhabitant of our backyards, roadsides, and grasslands frequently enough that we are no longer surprised by that flash of blue, but still enchanted. Perhaps this is partially because we remember that the once-prolific Eastern bluebird, now largely restored to that state again, was almost lost from the landscape entirely. From 1920-1970 there was a major decline in the bluebird population. The bluebird went from being as common as the robin, to being so rare that birders were sure of its inevitable extinction. But, thanks to the efforts of many, the species is making a comeback – one that we should not take for granted.

We have all been involved in helping this wonderful, living icon become more visible and vibrant throughout the State of New York, and the sky is the limit. Goals are important in life to help us achieve what it is we set out to do. If you don’t accomplish a goal, you keep trying until you are successful and then raise the bar and keep going.

Together, organizations such as the North American Bluebird Society (NABS), the New York State Bluebird Society (NYSBS), and other concerned individuals set a goal to restore the bluebird. We have waged an educational campaign about the species, encouraging the proper construction, placement, and care of nesting boxes. The result is that the bluebird once again graces open spaces and its beautiful plumage and sweet song are enjoyed across the Northeast.

These birds we see every day are a result of YOUR dedication to conservation, and what we do now on our bluebird trails is a part of the future for bluebirds. New York has such an accomplished history of bluebird conservation and we are benefiting from the years of dedication of both groups, such as NYSBS, and individuals. As we continue to care for bluebird boxes in our yards and on our trails, we are continuing the tradition of bluebirds in New York State.

The story, however, does not stop there. The NYSBS was founded for the conservation of the Eastern bluebird, our state bird. As bluebird populations continue to do better, we, as conservationists, should continue to set our goals high—to keep our momentum going and to use our resources, knowledge, and passion to keep those numbers secure, as well as to expand our efforts to include other native species in trouble.

We encourage you to join the New York State Bluebird Society as a member and become involved in our conservation efforts as they develop. Membership is open to all who are interested in conservation, regardless of where they live. Visit our Membership page for details.

The bluebird has historically been an international symbol of happiness, and it now stands as an example of conservation success. Thank you for your dedication, and please continue to do what you can to help the birds – one nest box at a time.  

Jenny Murtaugh, NYSBS President