A Mail Ma'am's Mission to Protect Bluebirds
A Virginia letter carrier has turned her route into a haven for nesting eastern bluebirds.
Coe notes that Shultz's passion for birds is infectious, and that she's always willing to share her massive store of self-taught knowledge with folks along her mail route. Kate Duval keeps watch over her box, sometimes through binoculars from her living room; in 2011 she had four hatchlings for the first time. No such luck for Bozarth. "They had beencoming sporadically," she says. In previous years several bluebird families had produced eight or nine chicks in two houses she had installed herself. She seems worried about the prospects of their return yet assured that she and Shultz will somehow make the Bozarth boxes more hospitable. (As Audubon went to press, chicks had recently hatched in the newly installed box.)
"Birds are such miraculous little beings," says Shultz. "That's what draws me to them. They have that whole survival-of-the-fittest thing going on with migration." And as if running a banding station, the Host-a-House program, and a mail route aren't enough, Shultz has a new mission: to build great crested flycatcher houses. She's already put up three.
This story originally ran in the July-August 2012 issue as "Priority Mail."