Since 2021, Nashville Zoo’s bird team has been monitoring bluebird populations right here in our backyard via nest boxes. In an effort to participate in a hands-on approach, bird keeper Rachael Payton received her federal and state bird banding permits in fall 2022 which allows her to band birds on Zoo property.
Bird banding is a strategy where researchers attach identification bands on the leg of females or males incubating eggs or feeding chicks, and then the chicks once they are old enough. This method allows researchers to gain information about the bird’s life including sex, age, how far it travels, how long it lives and more.
This project will target native bluebird populations on the Zoo’s 188 acres. By tracking these animals, we will be able to observe how they react and acclimate to land changes as we continue to grow. While the bird team is only in their second season of this research endeavor, they have been able to track 51 nest attempts and 122 confirmed fledglings leaving the nest. This April, Rachael visited three of the Zoo’s fifteen bird boxes and had the opportunity to band her first chicks.
As our bird team continues to track and research these bluebird populations, we will be able to provide accurate and appropriate recommendations to best protect this species right here in our backyard.