Photographed by Bette Jackson
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Hi, I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson, out with the wild things. In addition to its range in North America, the eastern blue bird is native to the tiny island of Bermuda, where it once hunted for insects and fruit on the coastal grasslands and nested in old cedars and rocky cliffs. With the arrival of humans in 1609, blue birds began to suffer. What happened on this small island reflects changes taking place in North America as well. But the changes are more evident there, because of the smallness of the blue bird population and the island it occupies. Feral cats became serious predators on blue birds. House sparrows were introduced in the early 1870s and became successful competitors for blue birds nest sites. In the 1940s, a scale insect was accidentally introduced to Bermuda, and 90% of the island's cedars were killed. Blue bird populations plummeted as sites for their nests disappeared. When European starlings colonized the island in the 1950s, they also competed for blue birds nest sites and ate blue bird eggs and nestlings. The fate of Bermuda's blue birds is an ecological disaster, but also a conservation success story. Today, eastern blue birds survive in Bermuda with intensive management and use of artificial nest boxes.'With the Wild Things' is produced at the Whitaker Center in the College of Arts and Sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University. For "The Wild Things', I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson.