For The Love Of Birds

John and Beverly Ruska have been traveling across the country for 15 years to promote the bluebird. Both admit they still learn something new every now and then.

“I’m always discovering some fact or finding out something I didn’t know about birds,” John Ruska said Sunday at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute in Jamestown. The discussion was part of a workshop sponsored by the New York State Bluebird Society.

The Fredonia residents give numerous presentations a year, and recently traveled to Mexico and Costa Rica to discuss a variety of birds.

Sunday’s workshop included the nesting cycle of the bluebird, as well as eating habits and a study of their yearly migrations. The workshop, which was attended by more than 40 area residents, included dozens of photographs of the bluebird.

Beverly Ruska, a former teacher at Fredonia Central School, said she enjoys teaming up with her husband to educate the public. The duo even managed to infuse some humor during their presentation Sunday when their slideshow was disrupted.

“We try not to fight too much,” Beverly Ruska quipped. “We’ve been doing this for so long, and there’s so much to learn about these birds. It’s a lot of fun.

“I still learn new things about the bluebird. I was just recently reading a book and found out a lot of things I never knew before. … It’s always wonderful to gain something new.”

John Ruska, former president of the Bluebird Society, said his wife first got him interested in bluebirds back in the 1970s. Both have been traveling ever since.

“My wife has always been interested in birds,” John Ruska said. “We saw our first bluebird in 1972. It’s a wonderful way to spend some time.”

He added: “There’s a lot to tell people about the bluebird. We enjoy going all around and letting people know all about them.”

Both have maintained the Chautauqua County U.S. Route 20 bluebird trail for almost 20 years. The trail has seen the number of bluebirds grow exponentially since 1980.