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Gunston Hall’s bluebird trail is a 2.5 mile hike that follows the edge of the forested landscape, connecting the parking lot to the pastures, burial ground, and the deer park.
From early April through mid-August, visitors can enjoy watching the lifecycle of the eastern bluebird. Hikers should look out for the brilliant blue coat and rusty red throat of male bluebirds and the gray blue coat and buff-breast of their female mates.
More than a dozen modern roosting boxes mimic the abandoned woodpecker-made tree cavities bluebirds prefer in the wild. Each box may host as many as three clutches of eggs in one season! Knowledgeable volunteers monitor these active nesting sites and help make sure their avian residents are healthy and happy. Please don’t be tempted to touch or disturb the bluebird boxes.
Gunston Hall’s 18th-century residents were familiar with the eastern bluebird, which was known for both its looks and its song. George Mason kept a variety of native animals in his household for amusement and study, including live opossums and a mockingbird. Perhaps he also studied the eastern bluebird.
This flat, easy hike is ideal for adults or families with mobile children and is best experienced with hats, sunscreen, closed-toed shoes, long socks and pants, and tick-rated bug repellent.
Keep an eye out for other wildlife, especially as you walk near the fields. Deer, geese, turkeys, foxes, groundhogs and even eagles call these area home.
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Do you need a refresher on where you are on the property? Access the grounds map here.