The bluebird is now official! Many people may have read in the Crossville Chronicle last week that the bluebird was named the official bird of Cumberland County.

It actually started with the city of Crossville last year.  A local Crossville resident, Paul Shipley, presented a petition to the city to name the bluebird the official city bird. City manager Greg Wood agreed, and the Crossville city council passed the resolution.

Greg Wood then worked with Cliff Wightman at the Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) and the woodworking class at TCAT. They built 40 new bluebird nest boxes to be placed in and around the city. Lowes donated some of the materials to mount the boxes, and the Cumberland County Bluebird Club installed them at Meadow Lake Park, the Cumberland County Fairgrounds and at Roane State Community College. Nearly all of those nest boxes are now full of native bluebirds and tree swallows.

Crossville took the lead and it gave everyone the idea to then go to Cumberland County and Fairfield Glade. Now 3 entities, Crossville, Cumberland County and Fairfield Glade have all listed the bluebird as their official bird.

So big deal, why is this important?  Well, it helps with the Tennessee Bluebird Society mission of "protecting the Eastern bluebird and other native cavity nesting birds in Tennessee."

Bluebird populations dropped by 90% after the introduction of non-native, invasive house sparrows and European starlings. Bluebird nest boxes provide native cavity nesting birds a place to nest and have helped restore bluebird populations back to their original numbers.

When Peggie Flierl and I presented to the county commissioners and to Fairfield Glade, we told them how we have 84 dedicated volunteer monitors who never miss their week to check on nest boxes, and who sometimes get up at 6 a.m. to monitor on the golf courses ahead of the golfers. Our 12 bluebird trails and 256 nest boxes, covering most parts of our county, were a big part in getting the county and Fairfield Glade to name the bluebird their official bird. We have more bluebird nest boxes and regular volunteers than any county in Tennessee. 

Everyone loves bluebirds. And with the bluebird now being our official bird, it can only help attract visitors and new residents to our county, just like golf, hiking trails, wildlife and all of the other positives that our communities offer.

They have been here all along, but now the Eastern bluebird is the Official Bird of Crossville, Cumberland County, and Fairfield.  Welcome the beautiful, cheerful, friendly, official bird