Another Trail for Newport Bluebird Monitoring

Text and Photos by Julie Roenigk

Zip A Dee Doo Dah. Somewhere Over the Rainbow. I’m Always Chasing Rainbows.

I have heard and sung these songs for as long as I can remember. But they took on a new depth of meaning a few years ago when I saw my first bluebird.

Poets galore have written of these ‘blue beauty’ birds.

The Bluebird

Before you thought of spring,
Except as a surmise,
You see, God bless his suddenness,
A fellow in the skies
Of independent hues,
A little weather-worn,
Inspiriting habiliments
Of indigo and brown.

With specimens of song,
As if for you to choose,
Discretion in the interval,
With gay delays he goes
To some superior tree
Without a single leaf,
And shouts for joy to nobody
But his seraphic self!


So it was with both inward and outward delight when I saw my first bluebird in two years this spring. In 2020 we sold our home in Rochester, Minnesota where we had a Bluebird Trail on our property. Each spring we felt anew the joy of hosting bluebirds in our yard and awaited their return to nest, lay eggs, raise their hatchlings and watch them fledge. I didn’t anticipate the yearning I would have in the spring to witness this. 

When we moved to Sister Bay last year I did walk in Newport State Park hoping to see a bluebird. But I understand it was a very harsh spring. In the early spring of this year I contacted Beth Bartoli, the park Naturalist, and asked her about the bluebird program at Newport State Park. She invited me to consider monitoring a trail as part of the Newport program at a neighboring property. Carolyn Hitzeman has been so gracious to welcome us onto her land, Pine Meadow. Together Beth and I walked the trail with Carolyn and assessed the placement and condition of the bluebird boxes. Over the next few weeks other volunteers assisted in relocating and repairing them. 

And then, after “gay delays”…they came! We gave “shouts of joy”! It is a privilege and a delight to see and hear these Blue Beauties once again. 

May 20, 2022: Nest
June 14, 2022: Hatchlings
May 27, 2022: Eggs
June 17, 2022: Nestlings
June 9, 2022: Hatchlings