Payson Parks and Recreation Department, through the good offices of Director William Schwind, granted me permission to place two bird boxes each in Green Valley and Rumsey parks, with the help of Mr. Nelson Beck.
These boxes are designed and built to encourage the nesting of Western Blue Birds.
Blue Birds are a North American species, with particularly bright colors of cobalt blue and red. Being cavity nesters, but unable to carve out their own nest sites, they rely on those cavities excavated in tree limbs and trunks by Woodpeckers. In this respect, they are in competition with the Woodpeckers themselves, plus House Wrens, Tree Swallows, Ash Throated Fly-Catchers, Chickadees, Nuthatches, Sparrows and Starlings.
Of these birds, the last two are introduced species -- the Starling being particularly aggressive and prolific.
These bird boxes, as made, will keep out only the Starling and Woodpecker because the access hole is 1 7/16" in diameter, and too small for those two species. This still leaves the Blue Bird at the end of the "housing list" since they are probably the least aggressive of the remaining cavity nesters.
With the current development in Payson, in which dead trees are removed at new home sites, plus the necessary logging of dead wood in the surrounding forest, nest sites for all cavity nesters will be at a premium.
The reason for locating these boxes at Green Valley and Rumsey is that the parks have the perfect environment of single or small groves of trees with extensive grassy areas, ideal nest site locations for Blue Birds, which are insect eaters.
It is hoped, that with the location of these boxes, we will see the bright blue flash of these birds to add to the enjoyment of our park areas.
Leonard S. Cox, Payson