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Steve.JPG (42564 bytes)Steve Gilbertson was born in 1953 in a small farming community in southern Minnesota.  Steve became familiar with local wildlife at an early age even though few people had ever seen a bluebird, the area abounded with robins, swallows, and native sparrows.  Raccoons, skunks and feral cats were also in abundance.  Like many  farm boys, he began to understand the relationships surrounding all these creatures --including the painful ones between some mammals and birds.  An empathy soon developed for these feathered friends.  In 1968 the family purchased 200 acres of semi-wilderness in the big woods of north-central Minnesota.  The seemingly endless forest, broken up only by the many lakes and occasional dirt road offered still more opportunity to mesh with the natural world around him.  A bluebird?  He'd seen a great many blue jays, usually after their loud raucous warning to all the animals within earshot that a human was nearby!  He never cared much for blue jays.

In 1973, Mary Schmitt agreed to marry him and would soon move with him onto the family acreage, where soon they would have two girls, Beth and Brenda.  In 1980, they moved to Anoka, Minnesota, to be closer to his new job at Federal Cartridge-Hoffman Engineering.  The old homestead could now be used only for vacations and weekends.  

One day in late 1988, Lyle Bradley, his former biology teacher, got him interested in helping the Eastern Bluebird, which was in very low numbers at this time.  Lyle introduced him to one of the greatest bluebird pioneers of all time, Dick Peterson, of Peterson Nestbox fame.  They became fast friends with a common goal: to help the Eastern Bluebird.  Steve then joined many of the bluebird restoration groups that existed at the time.  He'd yet to see his first bluebird.  In Spring of 1989, peering out of a newly placed nestbox, was his first!  During the next few years he improved nestbox design, predation resistance, and sparrow trapping techniques with not only top line products but also the education to use them properly.  "One must understand how these creatures think and why they do the things they must."  In these later years, good friend and retired conservation officer Duane Lhotka plays a major role in gaining Steve some additional wild life perspective.  Currently, and since 1995, Steve and his wife of now 31 years (in 2004,) live on the same site originally carved out of the big woods some 28 years earlier.

Steve welcomes calls from fellow bluebirders with concerns about bluebirds and related matters.  Please call  218-927-1953.

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