Mountain Bluebird

Willow, cottonwood, and aspen habitat have been greatly reduced on the southern portion of the National Elk Refuge due to decades of heavy browsing by wintering elk. This has negatively impacted habitat for cavity nesting birds, such as the Mountain Bluebird. The Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation is helping to mitigate the loss of suitable bluebird habitat through a multi-decade long project of installing and monitoring bluebird nestboxes. This project was created in partnership with the National Elk Refuge.

Currently, there are 110 nestboxes along the National Elk Refuge western boundary fence line. These nestboxes are utilized by Mountain Bluebirds, Tree Swallows, and other cavity dwelling birds. The purpose of this project is threefold:

  • Mitigate for lost habitat of cavity nesting birds in Jackson Hole.
  • Educate the public about the plight of cavity nesting birds.
  • Involve individuals in monitoring the boxes so they will become vested in sharing the message with others.
Biologist monitors nestbox.
did you know?
  • The Mountain Bluebird Nestbox Trail along the National Elk Refuge is the largest Mountain Bluebird trail in the continental United States!
  • 110 nestboxes are monitored every year, once per week from April through July by approximately 12 dedicated volunteers.
  • If you live locally near the Refuge, you can help monitor!

To learn more about the project and to get involved please visit the Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation site.



A bright blue sky obstructed by fluffy white clouds reflected off of a stream shot from inside a kayak
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages an unparalleled network of public lands and waters called the National Wildlife Refuge System. With more than 570 refuges spanning the country, this system protects iconic species and provides some of the best wildlife viewing opportunities on Earth.


Cow elk looking at you
Wildlife conservation is at the heart of what makes the National Elk Refuge unique and unparalleled in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Conservation of native species and their habitats is the core management mission of the Refuge. The Refuge protects critically important habitat for numerous...