May of 2002 was the time that I believed I could help increase the Bluebird's population.  I started with the idea that I would work within Sarasota County.  Sarasota County is located about 50 miles below Tampa, FL. 
What really helped convince me that I could help, was when I saw on the Internet that Joe Huber lived in Venice, FL, which is about 15 miles below the city of Sarasota. Joe is the inventor of the Huber Sparrow Trap, which you can find information on this site, or you can surf the Internet.  I live five miles north of the city of Sarasota, almost to the county line.  Joe made me believe I could get Bluebirds, even in late May of 2002.  Knowing that an expert lived in the area made me feel better.
I then visited the Hardee County Bluebird Trail, and for the second time, got to see a Bluebird.  I saw Bluebirds everywhere, and there were lots eggs and babies.  John Maddox who was the Trail Monitor, also made me believe I could get Bluebirds that year.  Since the Hardee County Trail was doing so well, that would be the box I would copy in setting up my Trail.
John sent me simple box plans, and I used his 1 1/4" thick wall PVC pole cut at 6' 8".  The box is set from about 5 feet from the hole to ground level.
Then I found the Bluebird-L list, and through their help learned that I wanted to use the Ron Kingston's predator guard.  At first I had had to order the stovepipe.  On the first 25 boxes I used the 6" guard.  I now am ordering the 8" pipe.  Since beginning, I have found that Home Depot does carry stove piping; they just did not know they had it!  I wanted to use an effective box, easy to handle pole, and best predator guard.  So the setups we have are just about the best we can use!  
After reading most of the Bluebird books, and all the Bluebird-L e-mails, I am finding that Bluebird setups are like mouse traps.  Everyone is trying to build a better one!  (After two years, I stopped making all my Trails have predator guards.  Mostly because of cost, and it was also time to see if we truely needed them on all boxes, all of the time.  I find all boxes do not need them, but if you can make/get one, that you should go ahead and place one on.)
Now that I had the best equipment, I needed the best habitat.  I have driven just about all of the back roads and paths in Manatee, and north Sarasota counties.  At first I searched only Sarasota county, but after finding that the county wanted up to $50.00 per box for roadside permits, and to sign my life away for liability,  I then tried to go to the large land developers.  Again, I found the thought of liability was to great for them to let me on their properties.
This was a turning point in what my Goals would be.  I realized I probably would not be just monitoring my one little trail of 20 boxes.  Bringing Bluebirds back to an area is a job for many people, not just for me to do.  I then turned to friends who owned large areas of land.  Both ladies jumped at the idea to have the First Monitored Bluebird Trails in their areas, which were Manatee County, and the Venice Area.  Then came our first Sarasota Trail, which a son of a co-worker and his wife, who is a Veterinarian, was honored to have this trail on their property.  They also are the first to spot Bluebirds on our Officially Monitored Bluebird Trails.
In looking for land which is wide open, and not in House Sparrow territory, I searched the phonebook for a contact in the Myakka City area.  This is a city of only a couple of gas stations, community center, and a school area.  But there were lots of large land owners.  I was lead to the lady who writes the areas newsletter.  And she offered, for me to write an article about Bluebirds, which I did.  From that article we started with six more Trails.  I have also written for their Myakka Livin' magizine since then!  Also, the number of Trails we have in our areas is still growing.
During the week, when I was not building the predator guards, and working on the poles, I worked in other Bluebird related areas.  There now are at least eight libraries in four counties which have purchased three different Bluebird books, and a video for their communities.   I have also written a 22 page Bluebird Project Booklet which the county of Sarasota has printed, and is be available to be chosen as a pilot project.  Now available in Manatee county.  The booklet has also been sent to the state 4-H level to be brought up to state and national project levels.  At this time it is in the works to be published, and should also be able to be sold Nationally!
There are not close to 90 of our Project Trails, and other private Trails in our Southwest Florida area.  Plus, there are undocumented single boxes which have been put up.  Our official count of fledged Bluebirds to Cornell University is around 400 each year.  There is more like 600 fledgings I hear about, that I do not have complete information on.  The areas large private and public Bluebird Trails report close to 1000 fledgings each year.  Each year is bringing us more and more successful fledgings.  The year of the five bad hurricanes in our area, has  appeared not to have hurt the Bluebird's breeding.

Get  To  Know  Christy Packard:
Hi, I am just an individual, who decided I would like to bring back Bluebirds to my county of Sarasota, and that is what I am doing with Christy's Bluebird Project.
I have lived in Sarasota County since 1956.  Moving here from Redondo Beach, CA.  My father retired from 30 years in the Navy, and it was then we either move to Japan or to Florida.
My family stayed the first year in Venice, FL, and we lived in the home next to the Banyan Tree House.  The Sheriff lived on the other side of us.
We then moved up to Sarasota, to Shade Ave., and my parents lived there until their deaths.  I have always worked, and lived within five miles of downtown. 
I have worked for the Clerk of the Circuit Court for 32 1/2 years.  And I only have another 31 months that I can work for them.  I am officially retired, but now am contracted to work for them.  I do the Criminal Searches for the County. In the past I have been the bookkeeper for Doctors Hospital, and 11 of the stores for Gulf Coast Auto Supply.  At night for many years I worked for A.C. Nielson's TV Ratings.
I have received a degree from Manatee Community College, and I only need one elective, and my senior exam to get my BA from Eckerd College.
My interests have always been to help people or places which really need help.  I usually work alone.  I then find a group which needs particular items to do their work better.  I then find a way to get whatever they have asked for.  I did that by either making the item, or finding donation money to buy it, or raising the money through rummage sales etc.
At this time in my life I have decided to start my own one person organization, which is to bring back Bluebirds.
I plan to move to Dahlonega, GA after I sell my home.  No more hurricanes!  I will also have my own Bluebirds, which I do not have any birds now.  I only have my computer to help others with now. 
I want to expand my Bluebird Project up in that area, and always to anyone who needs help.  I plan to learn how to garden properly; flowers, plants, bushes, trees, veggies, and fruit!  I love to read, but will be walking to all of the waterfalls too!  Actually I find there is NOT enough time to do all I want to get involved with.
 *   *   *   *   *

When you growup you can catch your own juicy worms like me!
This photo was provided by Wendell Long



I had never seen a Bluebird before May of 2002.  I have since jumped into this subject through reading every Bluebird book I can get, and then also by visiting every Bluebird Trail around the South Florida area. 

I also immediately joined the Bluebird-L on the Internet. That is an Internet List for  e-mails, which come in by the dozens every day.  Filled with information and talk of Bluebirds from others who are interested in Bluebirds around the United States.

The information on what has to be done to help Bluebirds is not difficult.  From the knowledge given in reading the books, listening to the experts, and learning from the List, I believe I have gained enough information to try and help the Bluebirds too! 

I especially learned that I cannot do this alone.  And I am finding there are many of you out there who want to help.  And you too will, or can find all the knowledge I have about Bluebirds.  You just have to start.




Christy on Phone.jpg
Always Promoting Something!

Christy Packard 2007
Photo taken for Channel 7's monthly Bright Spot Award

2003 ...My First Year Report
Hi All,   Wow!   What a year!  Time for my 1st year end report.

Can you believe it has been 15 months since I  "thought"  I would like to
help the BBs.  And below are most of the things that were done toward my
continous Goal-----

29 Monitored Trails
3 Trails were Golf Courses
28 Different Monitors
All Trails have backup Monitors!
25 Monitors personally trained by myself
25 Properties I walked through and/or set boxes in best habitat area
Always available for questions and problems by phone, e-mail and visits
21  Bluebird Monitor Guides sold to Trail Monitors (some bought elsewhere)
Approx. Half of Monitors have been shown the BB Video
1 Monitor entered 2 times the BB photo contest
All Trails sent in weekly Monitor reports ..yes, some did miss a week or so

180 BB Boxes put into ground through the year
146 BB Boxes we built, and 34 built or purchased (approx. figures)
7 Owl boxes built and donated
9 Woodpecker boxes built and donated
107 Ron Kingston Predator Guards Built
146 PVC poles with hardware & paint put together

5  Different Counties are involved
8  Libraries in 4 counties added 22 BB books and videos
Started one Great!  Christy's Bluebird Project  web site
1  4-H Bluebird Project Book written and accepted at the state level for printing
$1257.00 so far collected toward the $3500.00 needed to supply all 67
counties 4-H
4-H Bluebird Project  actually started in 2 counties
2 BB Presentation talks given to 4-H
9 Articles with photos written in 3 local newspapers of our BB Trails
Now have been writing monthly a BB Update for Myakka Livin' magazine
2 Book Reviews done on Amazon.com on BB Books
1 Listmania on BBs started on Amazon.com

Visits to:
2 County Fairs 4-H Departments
Hardee County 25 box BB Trail
Venice Audubon partially monitored 10 Box BB Trail
Avon Park 100 Box BB Trail
Talked to:
4 other FL BB Trails
1 Talk given to 1 county Audubon Club
1 Talk given to Suncoast Golf Superintendents many counties golf courses

Met for Breakfast with some Monitors and Bird Banders
Visited in Venice with Joe Huber, a BB Celebrity!
Set up BB Table at area Plant Sale
Mealie Worms grown way too successfully
6  Monitors also found they grow to well

59  Bluebirds Fledged
52  Bad BB Eggs
6   BB Babies died
Red Ants were only Predator
No House Sparrows bothered any nest...most Trails don't have them
7 Tufted Titmouse Fledged
2 Carolina Wren Fledged
1 Great Crested Flycatcher laid an egg
25 nest boxes were used
10 Trails had BBs 2 others the TT and GCF
At the time of this e-mail:
We had 1st BB egg laid in US Feb. 27
Also 1st Great Crested Flycatcher egg in US

I saw my first Bluebird!
I saw my first BB babies!
I saw my first Fox squirrel
I saw my first Tufted Titmouse in a BB box
I lost 23 pounds.
I can now walk normally...I could barely walk before.
I can bend over now....I could not even move a couple of inches over before.
I climbed through barbed wire
I got a $325.00 Tetanus Shot
I got lost
I found my Anxiety
I nearly got heat stoke many a time.
I got to see every shape and size of dog...oh my...(not a real dog person)
I was over run with huge bulls and cows, & saved by two cowboys.
I can build a birdhouse in 15 minutes now....never built anything before.
I love my drill press & saw
I don't have to build on top of my bike seat anymore.
I have a $5.00 computer table I use.
I don't take NO for an answer much.
I think Very Positive.
I praised a lot even when things went a bit wrong.
I met the best bunch of BB new Monitors
I learned a lot on the Bluebird-L
I work also full-time.
I took one college class during all of this.
I didn't sleep much.

Started Next Year:
Now have 8 more BB Trails for a total of 36 BB Trails
3 more are Golf Courses
One homeschool teacher/ 4-H leader is starting her kids on 4-H Booklet
Working on getting materials to be at least 10 Trails (50 boxes) ahead
This is the time of the year I really started last year...got lots to do!

Just had a report Bluebirds are reported 3 houses away from ME!!!!!!!!
.........Think Bluebird!...............It can happen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Spread the word....Bluebird!!!!!!!

Christy   Sarasota, FL
"A Goal without a Plan is just a Wish"    Unknown