KDWPT / Services / Wildlife Diversity / Kansas Bluebirds



Kansas Bluebirds

Marvin Schwilling Memorial Blue Bird Program

 

Marvin Schwilling was a long time employee of the Kansas wildlife department. Starting work in Kansas in 1952, Marvin worked in several capacities as a research biologist, an area manager, waterfowl biologist, and finally as the Endangered Species Specialist in the nongame program of the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks. Involved in many organizations, most prominently the Kansas Ornithological Society, Marvin gained universal respect and admiration for his work and for his amiable attitude. Some of his most passionate work was related to helping to establish Eastern Bluebird nesting boxes and trails throughout the state. He retired from the state in 1990 and continued work with birds, butterflies and moths until his abilities were lessened by a debilitating stroke. Marvin Schwilling passed in 2008 and the memorial fund created in his honor continues through this program to promote bluebird recovery in Kansas.

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The Eastern bluebird, with its brilliant blue and rust colors and melodic song, is a bird appreciated and enjoyed by all who get the chance to see or hear it. Unfortunately, many people, especially younger folks, have never seen a bluebird in the wild. Once abundant in Kansas, the number of these cavity nesting birds has declined dramatically since the middle part of the century. This decline has resulted from a loss of natural nesting holes, increased pesticide use, and competition with the introduced house sparrow and European starling. But thanks to citizens and organizations who place nest boxes, the Eastern Bluebird is beginning to thrive once more.