Photos: For a long-married couple, a bluebird devotion

Chuck and Hope Lea
Chuck and Hope Lea, who are both 87 years old, walked from one of the more than 40 bluebird nesting houses they monitor at Belwin Conservancy in Afton, Minn. Monday, May 4, 2015. The couple has been volunteering at Belwin for 23 years, monitoring and recording bluebirds twice a week through most of the spring and summer.
Jeffrey Thompson | MPR News

Chuck and Hope Lea of Lake Elmo, Minn., have been married 65 years, and for nearly a third of that, they've tended to bluebird nest boxes in hopes of rebuilding the songbird's population in the St. Croix Valley.

Every week through the spring and summer, they check 40 bluebird nest boxes for eggs at the Belwin Conservancy in Afton, just up the valley from the St. Croix River.

The nests were first built in the 1980s — as they were in many places throughout the state — by organizations concerned with the then-dwindling Eastern Bluebird population.

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