Meet the Urban Forest ‘SpokesBird’


The Huntington Beach Tree Society is proud to announce the hatching of the Western Bluebird as the official symbol, mascot, and “Spokesbird” of the Urban Forest.

Photos by James Kendall

“The Western Bluebird was selected as our ‘spokesbird’ because it is a perfect representative for the Urban Forest,” claims HB Tree Society President Jean Nagy. “Both entities manifest hope and resilience in the face of myriad challenges to our natural environment. These gorgeous cobalt blue and rust-colored birds have made a comeback and delight Urban Forest visitors discovering them foraging, flying and nesting in an area that had become a wasteland and has now been transformed with forested parkland paths.”
The Western Bluebird came close to entirely disappearing in Orange County in the last century due to destruction of its needed forested environment that was being rapidly urbanized without essential mitigation. One man, Dick Purvis, began building and placing hundreds of nest boxes in Orange County in the early 1990s. By 2007, Dick joined with the Southern California Bluebird Club socalbluebirds.org to consolidate their efforts to increase the population of the beautiful Western Bluebirds.
Local birder and Urban Forest supporter Betty Kanne adds, “The HB Tree Society has played an important part in restoring habitat. The HB Urban Forest rose from tiny seedlings planted a mere 20 years ago. In recent years, Western Bluebirds that had steadily lost the vast majority of their natural habitat over the last century have made this lush, vibrant environment home. They thrive in this forest, which offers abundant food sources as well as natural crevices for nesting, supplemented with customized nest boxes, perfectly designed for their breeding success.”
The annual “Bluebird of Happiness Day” will be celebrated this year on Sept. 24. The National Today website states, “Bluebirds are cherished for their beauty, devotion to their family, and delightful singing. These tiny creatures remind us of the small joys that we get to experience every day.”

BIRD-A-THON egg-citement is building!

Our Western Bluebird celebration will culminate with the Urban Forest’s first ever Fall BIRD-A-THON, a four-day fundraiser for planting and bird-friendly improvements at the Urban Forest. Participants will compete as individuals or teams, raising pledge money by counting birds and bird species, recording data on the popular eBird app. Participants can “bird” the park anytime, any day from Thursday Sept. 22 through Sunday Sept. 25, 2022 in order to be included in the bird-friendly competition. Participants need not have any prior birding knowledge or experience to join the fun. 

Find forms and more details by clicking here!

Since birders began observing in the Urban Forest in Nov. 2020, more than 90 bird species have been observed. The Urban Forest is located on Ellis Ave. near Edwards Street within Southwest Huntington Central Park. It was established and is nurtured and sustained by the Huntington Beach Tree Society, Inc., a registered nonprofit 501(c)3 based in Huntington Beach, CA. For more information, please email jnagytree@aol.com.