Local Boy Scout helps restore the songbird population with nest boxes

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- The seventh bluebird trail is now up in Eau Claire, thanks to help from Eagle Scout candidate, Kevin Keys.

Keys, with Troop 31, is partnering with the Bluebird Experience to help restore the songbird population. He financed and constructed 10 nest boxes.

"I was really influenced to do this project because my brother also did a similar project a few years back, and I got to help on that and I had a great time. It's a really great thing we're doing, bringing the birds back, Bluebirds specifically in our case," said Kevin Keys.

According to the Bluebird Experience Co-Founder, Shelly Sutley, eastern bluebirds were almost extinct in the 70s. She helped start this restoration project in 2007.

"Since we are cleaning up our neighborhoods, there isn't that brush for them. We can work with the Boy Scouts, build bluebird boxes and provide a habitat and then by monitoring them we make sure the invasive species the house sparrow is not taking over these cavity nesting sites," said Sutley.

The boxes are monitored weekly, and data is sent to Cornell University in New York to track the growth of songbirds across the country.

With the 10 boxes built by Kevin Keys, there are now 122 bluebird nest boxes in Eau Claire.

Sutley said so far, the project has led to more than 1100 bluebirds leaving the nest.

The Memorial High School junior said he's happy to continue the tradition of local Boy Scouts working on this restoration effort as part of the earning their Eagle Scout Award.

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