Restoring Bluebird Population topic of VIU Science & Technology talk March 11

Restoring the bluebird population is the focus of the next VIU Science & Technology free public lecture March 11.

March 9, 2015 - 3:45pm

Sixty years ago, western bluebirds were a common occurrence in the Garry Oak meadows and savannahs of southwestern BC.

However, this bluebird population experienced rapid declines throughout its range in the latter half of the 1900s, caused by loss of Garry Oak habitat, removal of standing dead trees that provide cavities for nesting, and competition for nest cavities with exotic birds such as European starlings and house sparrows.

By 1995, bluebirds were no longer breeding in southwestern BC and the population was designated as locally extinct. Today, western bluebirds are recovering throughout Washington as a result of habitat enhancement, conservation, and restoration, and reintroduction efforts.

In the next Vancouver Island University Science & Technology Series free public lecture on Wednesday, March 11,  join Jemma Green, Coordinator Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team, as she describes how bluebird populations were restored.

In her talk, Green will describe how in 2012, the Bring Back the Bluebirds Project joined the international effort to restore breeding populations of western bluebirds to historic habitat throughout the Georgia Depression by reintroducing bluebirds to Vancouver Island.

This project is the first cross-border translocation attempt of a migratory songbird in North America and an important step in the recovery of Garry Oak ecosystems.

Green will provide an overview of the habitat enhancement and translocation activities conducted in the first three years of this seven-year project, which has established a small population of breeding bluebirds on Vancouver Island.

Green completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Natural Resources Conservation at the University of British Columbia, where she focused her studies on wildlife ecology and conservation.

She worked with a variety of environmental organizations in Vancouver before moving to Vancouver Island, where she became immersed in Garry Oak ecosystem restoration activities.

Green spent much of 2014 in the Cowichan Valley, applying her interests in animal behaviour and wildlife conservation as the field technician for the Bring Back the Bluebirds project.

Her talk takes place Wednesday, March 11, from 7 - 8 pm at Vancouver Island University’s Nanaimo campus, 900 Fifth Street, Building 356, Room 109. The lecture is open to everyone and there will be a question and answer session.

For more information and a complete schedule of upcoming talks in VIU’s weekly Science & Technology Lecture Series, please go to


Media Contact

Janina Stajic, Manager, Vancouver Island University

P: 250.740.6288 E: T: @viunews

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