Mark Ritke has dedicated the past 29 years of his life towards the conservation and propagation of the Eastern Bluebird. Mark always had a passion for birds and nature, which led him to acquire a Ph.D. in biology. In addition, he spent twenty years teaching in academia, including at the University of Pittsburgh at Titusville. Now retired, he still lives in the Titusville area.
Mark's love for bluebirds started when he installed his first bluebird box in his backyard after moving to Pennsylvania in 1994. Traveling around northwestern Pennsylvania brought him in contact with many people with bluebird boxes in their yards. Unfortunately, Mark discovered that only some of these boxes were helping bluebirds. So he made it his mission to help bluebird enthusiasts become successful landlords. He's also writing a how-to book that will explain in detail how to help bluebirds correctly.
Mark is a Bluebird Society of Pennsylvania member and is one of its Bluebird coordinators. He collects egg and nestling data from his 400 bluebird boxes in Venango, Crawford, and Erie Counties and fledges more than 1,400 bluebirds yearly.
In 2004, due to the USACE volunteer program, Mark installed a dozen bluebird boxes at Woodcock Creek Lake, which fledge more than 50 bluebirds yearly. Because Mark monitors his bluebird boxes regularly throughout the nesting season and uses predator guards, he has a nearly 100 percent fledgling success rate.
For those interested in becoming successful bluebird landlords, Mark's educational videos on YouTube are a great way to get started. Interested people can access the videos by entering "My Dog and Me Bluebirds" in the search box at the top of the page. Mark is also available to answer questions and offer advice. If you're interested, you can reach him at email@example.com or 814-676-4747. During the nesting season, he will most likely be monitoring his bluebird boxes, so please leave a message.