Bird Club Continues to Soar at River Landing

Published: April 28, 2022

River Landing at Sandy Ridge is home to many popular clubs and organizations. But none enjoys more resident membership than the bird club. We checked in with current president and resident, John Scroggins, for an update on the bird club’s continued growth.

“It is just a great, enjoyable way to meet people,” John says. “Whether you are just a little curious or a serious birder.”

The club starting back in October 2018 as more of a bluebird club when a few dedicated enthusiasts set out to inspect 16 bluebird nest boxes that a local Boy Scout had built and installed along the community’s golf course.

With the knowledge of founding members like John, as well as Jim Burke, who remains a key figure in the North American Bluebird Society, the group of residents spaced the existing bird boxes out and added significantly to their number. In the first year and a half of the club’s existence, resident members built and installed 31 more boxes, raising the total to 47. Today, the club tends to 65 bird boxes throughout the campus.

After getting off to fast start, the club steadily grew — even through the pandemic — to more than 120 members, with a core group of 12 board members and several trail leaders. “The trail leaders are our most experienced birders,” explains John.

Every Wednesday afternoon, club members are invited to accompany the trail leaders along one of the four different bluebird trails around campus and help with checking the boxes and updating data logs. The weekly trail tours typically attract a few dozen members in groups of six. The club uses golf carts to make it easier to get around, making the tours and program easier and more attractive to many residents.

The club continues to collect and track useful data on the bluebird nests that is sent to the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology. The club’s work has even led to River Landing earning a “Certified Wildlife Habitat” designation by the state of North Carolina.

Much of the membership also enjoys attending the monthly presentations organized by the club featuring experts in different areas of bird and plant life. “Last month we had an outstanding presentation by a mockingbird expert,” says John. “We do a raptor presentation once a year and we’ve done a hummingbird presentation in Greensboro.”

There is a modest annual membership fee of $15, which covers upkeep on the bird boxes and the presentations. The funds raised have also helped the club continue to enhance the bird boxes to prevent racoons and other predators from stealing the eggs.

On a recent tour with John, one box inspection revealed a nest of young bluebirds who appeared to be only a week old. Another box revealed a nest of Carolina chickadees that had just hatched that day!

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