First Annual Bluebirds and Bluegrass Festival

Bluegrass Bands
to Play Festival

Butts County
Recreational
Pathways

       A group with a collected interest in creating more recreational opportunities in Butts County has been meeting once a month for the past three months.
       Their goal is to identify existing trails and create a network of recreational pathways throughout the county for hiking, biking, horseback riding, and canoeing.
       This citizen-driven group is working closely with
representatives from the Butts County Recreation Department, County and City offices, High Falls and Indian Springs State Parks, Dauset Trails Nature Center, and various horse and bike-riding
organizations.
     The next meeting will be held on March 13, 2001 in the Butts County Community Center. To get involved, contact  Jim Herbert at the Recreation Dept. at  (770)775-8228.

Is there a Bluebird on Your  Shoulder?

       Bluebirds are a delight to see and provide entertaining and
educational enjoyment for all. The bright blue color of the male signals spring is coming soon. Here are some Trail Tidbits about bluebirds and how you can attract them to your area.
       In Georgia, bluebirds nest throughout the entire state between
February and July.  They are migratory, but some will remain near their breeding area the whole year. Bluebirds are an edge species meaning they like to feed at edges of open fields and  roadways. Their diet
consists of fruit and insects.
       They build their nests in old woodpecker cavities and man-made nest boxes using pine needles, grass, twigs, hair and feathers. They
usually have 4-5, pale-blue eggs in a clutch and may lay 2-3 clutches per year. Eggs take about 20 days to hatch. The female incubates the eggs while her mate defends the nest and forages for food.
        Interestingly, the young of the first clutch will help the parents feed the second clutch.
       If you would like to help the bluebird population in your area, build a few nest boxes. The ideal wood to use is red cedar or bald
cypress- but they are expensive. Untreated pine is acceptable as long as it is painted.  Use a light-colored hue to reduce the heat inside the box.
       There is a relatively new design for the entrance called the
"slot box." Instead of the traditional 1 1/2" hole, a 1 3/8" horizontal hole or slot is cut the top length of the front panel. This new  entrance not only is more attractive to bluebirds, it also provides more efficient
ventilation and discourages use from non-bluebird nesters.
        For nest box plans, call Dauset Trails or contact your local DNR
Office or County Extension Service.
       Once made,  mount the box so the bottom is at least four feet off of the ground. Place them near the edge of fields and roads and face the opening towards brush. Fledglings (young birds that can fly but still
depend on parents) will fly safely to a perch instead of a predator-laden ground. Be sure to clean out the boxes in January for the new nesting season. Also provide additional boxes for roosting.
       Build a box for bluebirds and enjoy their song and company.

    (Bluebird info obtained from "Georgia Wildlife Watch" No. 3, by the Non-Game Endangered Wildlife Program, GA DNR)

Seen
on
the
Trails

Giant mushrooms at the Children's Garden

      What do you get when you mix moist weather and rotten logs?
Mushrooms! They sprout and bring exciting color to the mundane browns of the forest floor. But what exactly is a mushroom?
      A mushroom is the fruit produced from the spore of a fungus. They
typically grow on moist ground or organic material such as rotten logs, stumps, sides of living trees, and dung.
      These fungi share a symbiotic relationship with living plants. They help each other survive by exchanging vital nutrients while sharing the same space. Some fungi will attach its roots to the host's roots and extract excess sugars and starches from the plant. In return, the plant has increased root area and can absorb more minerals and water from the soil.
      Then there are other types of fungi that cause damage to plants known as rusts, smuts, and rots. Some fungi cause reactions in plant tissue that form odd-shaped deformities called galls- usually seen in tree branches.
      Plants are not the only victims.  Parasitic fungi will attack any living
organism including people, land and water dwelling animals, and insects.
      When Dauset Trails has continued wet spells, mushrooms of all shapes sprinkle the walking trails with a variety of  color. See our mushroom
photographs at www.dausettrails.com/fungus.htm
      Or,  you can see huge mushrooms growing now at the Children's Garden. 
Actually, they are  mushroom shaped stumps carved by Rob Thurston, one of our resident folk artists and Animal Caretaker.  Come visit and enjoy!

         Dauset Trails Nature Center's mission is to provide quality environmental education, outdoor recreation, and an understanding of early farm life through close and intimate contact with Georgia's
preserved flora and fauna.

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