We’re celebrating the return of Michigan’s beloved bluebirds Saturday, March 21 at the Hagerty Center in Traverse City. Learn about the history of bluebirds in the region and how you can make a positive impact on their habitats.

Northern Michigan’s bluebirds will just be returning as the Michigan Bluebird Society kicks off its annual Spring Bluebird Festival, held this year in Traverse City. This celebration of the bright blue bird with its big belly and rusty throat and chest will include educational programs on bluebirds and other bird topics, a Bluebird Expo featuring products for sale and nature/environmental exhibits, a Nest Box Building Workshop, prize drawings and more.

The keynote program, “captivating Bluebirds,” will be by author, naturalist and photographer Stan Tekiela. There will also be more experts on hand to show attendees how to attract bluebirds and other native birds to their yards using nest boxes. To register, or obtain more information on the event, go to michiganbluebirds.org/springfestival.

The Eastern Bluebird used to be a very common bird across Michigan. However, habitat loss, the introduction of farming chemicals and competition from non-native species caused their numbers to plummet dramatically in the early-to-mid 20th century. Fortunately, conservation efforts starting in the 1960s have helped bring the bluebird back to many parts of the state. The placement of nest boxes in open habitats was one of the key actions that have contributed to the recent comeback.

The Michigan Bluebird Society’s main purpose is to educate the public about how they can help these beautiful native birds and to initiate projects that increase bluebird nesting in Michigan.

Kurt Hagemeister is the president of the Michigan Bluebird Society.