Photographed by Bette Jackson
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Hi, I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson, out with the wild things. The eastern blue bird is a resident that nests in appropriate habitat throughout Florida, except for the Keys. Its numbers, however, are greatest in northern counties and decline to the south, especially in coastal areas. Key factors in a blue bird’s presence in Florida are appropriate nesting sites, the level of competition and predation in an area, suitable feeding habitat, and a safe and dependable food supply. Blue birds nest in old woodpecker holes, natural cavities, and nest boxes. They once commonly nested in orchards and in wooden fence posts, but as forests have been cleared, orchards have been more intensively managed to remove older trees and wooden fence posts have been replaced by metal ones, blue bird nest sites have disappeared. As a result, eastern blue birds have become increasingly dependant on nest boxes. But they need more than a place to nest; an open habitat is needed too, and this was once provided by natural fire. Blue bird nest box trails have helped blue bird populations grow in many areas, and with such efforts, the overall trend for eastern blue bird populations has been positive in recent years.'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.