Research Triangle Park is home to over 38,000 full-time employees in over 170 diverse companies. Most people are aware of its regional importance for research and development and its importance to North Carolina. One thing people may not be as aware of is the flourishing wildlife within the Park. In addition to the 38,000 employees, hundreds of plants and animals call the 7,000 acre campus home and coexist within RTP.
The Research Triangle Park is home to over 40 bluebird boxes, 8 duck boxes, 4 bat boxes, 2 purple martin houses, and this does not include the various boxes other companies have on their private campuses. The boxes can be found all over the park off pedestrian trails we they are easily accessible. These houses provide homes for the unique and important species within the Park. The wildlife box program has been active within the Park since 2005 and has helped shelter hundreds of birds and mammals since then. Other than the wildlife box program there is also a butterfly garden within the Park at the RTP headquarters, a tree ID trail off of Davis drive, and an ongoing Park wildlife inventory.
The main emphasis throughout the wildlife programs at this time of year is on wildlife boxes, notably the bluebird boxes. Currently there are 40 bluebird boxes throughout the Park which are all available for adoption by RTP employees. Employees adopt a Bluebird box (es) and monitor the boxes over the breeding season, from late March to August. All of the data collected on nesting and reproductive habits is then collected and sent to NestWatch through Cornell University. Cornell uses this data to look at reproductive success and species movement and work to develop better wildlife management for the birds.
Eastern bluebirds experienced a sharp decline in populations from the 1920s to 1970s due to pesticides and other manmade disturbances. Since then bluebird box programs across the nation have worked amazingly well to bring back populations. The story of the bluebird’s re-establishment is such an interesting success story, not only for the bird’s recovery, but also for the fact that it was primarily citizens who have worked to bring the birds back and not a specific agency or organization. Read more »