History of the Southern California Bluebird Club

No history of the Southern California Bluebird Club can be discussed without first acknowledging the original SCBC (standing for San Clemente Bluebird Club) that was started by Mike Spohn and Sully Reallon in 2006.

In early 2007 the existing SCBC invited Dick Purvis and Bob Franz to join them at It's a Grind Coffee shop in Mission Viejo to discuss encompassing bluebird efforts in both south Orange County and north Orange County into one bluebird organization. It was quickly agreed to the merger and the new club name was to be Southern California Bluebird Club (SCBC).


Bob Franz teaches youth about the importance of dead trees.

The SCBC grew quickly under the leadership of Mike Spohn and then Bob Franz with monthly meetings being held at the Irvine Regional Water Department offices in Irvine. The SCBC and their efforts in support of Western Bluebirds received California-wide exposure on September 29, 2007 when Huell Howser of KCET TV met SCBC members Bob Franz and Dick Purvis and filmed a California's Green segment at Loma Vista Memorial Park and Coyote Hills Golf Course.

In 2012, SCBC monthly meetings were attended by close to 50 avid bluebird monitors and the club offered to host the 35th Annual North American Bluebird Society Conference on October 4 thru 6, 2012. The conference drew attendees from Canada as well as the East Coast and was deemed a success.


Dick Purvis with his famous "lifter."


Susan Bulger demonstrates Dick's "lifter."

In 2011 Audubon naturalist and nest box monitor Gillian Martin formed the Cavity Conservation Initiative (CCI) to bring awareness of the importance of safely retaining more dead and dying trees for their habitat value to cavity-nesting birds and other wildlife.

Among many related activities, Gillian has:

  • received grants from nature groups for development of educational materials
  • submitted articles to regional and national magazines on the value of dead trees
  • received the American Birding Association award for Conservation and Community
  • received a Conservation Award for developing CCI from Sea & Sage Audubon.
  • co-founded the Tree Care for Birds and other Wildlife Program to reduce impact on nesting birds during tree care.