Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

MVFN Bluebird Houses Ready for Spring 2011 Occupancy

MVFN Bluebird Houses Ready for Spring 2011 Occupancy

Poster notice with photos of the Peterson bluebird houses and volunteers at work – pdf  

By Cliff Bennett

Shades of Santa’s workshop or maybe the Easter Bunny! Over a dozen members and friends gathered at a workshop on Ramsay Conc. 8 on Saturday, March 19 to assemble over two hundred Peterson oval bluebird boxes as part of MVFN’s Habitat Creation Program led once again by our Past President Mike McPhail. This is the third year we have manufactured these specialized habitats for our Eastern bluebird population.

photo by Mike McPhail

The workshop was busy most of the day, with each person taking on one part of the eight-step assembly line process. The assembly teams included Craig Athrens, Susan Athrens, Carol Walsworth, Rob Walsworth, John Willis, Joel Byrne, Pip Winters, Al Potvin, Sue McPhail, Mike McPhail, Mike Macpherson, Parthy Chandrasekaran, Peggy McPhail, Betty Parent, Howard Robinson, Mary Robinson, Sylvie Frenette, and Dave Hurd. All parts were pre-cut and drilled by MVFN members Al Potvin and Pip Winters over the winter months. Lumber for the boxes was donated by Jesse Lance and Gord Pike. Refreshments were supplied by Peggy McPhail.

Studies show the Peterson oval design is more user-friendly to the Eastern bluebird because of its sloped form, easy access to cleaning, and protective structure to shelter the bird during severe weather. The import from Europe of the starling and the English house sparrow in the latter part of the nineteenth century saw these cavity dwellers take over much of the available nesting holes that the bluebirds needed. Man’s intervention with man-made bluebird nesting homes has helped greatly to re-establish these beautiful songbirds into our area.

Now that the pallets full of boxes are completed, the houses are ready for sale and installation. Hopefully many will be sold to property owners who have space to establish a bluebird trail. Other rural applications are possible, including within and around a series of apple trees, the birds’ favourite habitat. Bluebird boxes should be mounted in pairs, about ten to twelve feet apart. Aggressive tree swallows often take over one box but won’t tolerate another family of swallows nearby. However, they have no issues with bluebirds.

MVFN now has the bluebird boxes for sale at $18 each. The box includes a packet of mounting screws and an instruction sheet. You can buy these at any of our MVFN functions such as the lecture series or by contacting Mike McPhail at 613-256-7211 or . Proceeds of sales will go to MVFN’s Habitat Creation Program and the MVFN Cliff Bennett Nature Bursary Award Program.

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