Not only do bird boxes offer opportunities for people to enjoy the feathered flyers in action and observe their eggs and babies, they also provide critical habitat for these cavity-nesting birds—many of which are declining in population. According the Trust, “Eastern Bluebird populations in Pennsylvania were down by 90% in the mid-1900s as a result of habitat loss, pesticides, and competitive invasive species like House Sparrows and European Starlings. The Bluebird recovery is thanks in part to closely monitored nest boxes that are safeguarded against invasive bird competition.”
The Trust credits Ken Leister, County Coordinator for the Bluebird Society of PA, for helping to establish and administer the Homeowner Bird Box Program by building boxes, supplying informational materials, and providing guidance. View Ken's summary story here. The program installed 113 bird boxes in the Willistown area last year. Residents reported the great pleasure they and their children experienced watching the birds fly in and out of the boxes and seeing the eggs, then babies during their monitoring activities. Imagine how engaging and exciting this experience is for a child—not to mention an adult’s delight! Please note, the Trust’s program is full for 2014. For more information, email Willistown Conservation Trust or visit their website.
We are working with seventeen Jr. Troop 41311 Girl Scouts from Penn Wood Elementary School 4th and 5th grades (West Chester) in locating the boxes and conducting monitoring at Okehocking. Their Bountiful Bird Program participation will earn the Troop it’s Bronze Award, the highest honor a Girl Scout Junior can achieve.
Do you live near or frequent Greentree Park or Okehocking Preserve? Are you intrigued by this program? If so, you can become a monitor of the Bountiful Bird Program boxes in our parks! Contact Mary for info.
One of the great things about the Bountiful Bird Program is that kids can experience the thrill of seeing birds "grow" from nest to fledgling as well as their adult counterparts—it's a program for all ages!