For those interested in connecting with wildlife in their backyard, the Pennsylvania Game Commission is selling bluebird nesting boxes at agency headquarter, 2001 Elmerton Ave., Harrisburg. Boxes sell for $10.60, which includes sales tax, and customers can select from assembled boxes or kits that can be assembled as a wood-working project.
Sales will continue while supplies last and office hours are Monday-Friday from 7:45 a.m. until 4 p.m. Phone orders can be placed by calling the PGC office at 1-888-888-3459 and if ordering by phone, shipping and handling costs will apply depending on how many boxes are ordered.
"Bluebirds are early nesters, so now is the time to put up new nest boxes, as well as to clean and repair existing boxes," PGC Wildlife Diversity Division chief Dan Brauning said. "These bluebird boxes enable Pennsylvanians to help wildlife in a natural way.
"Also, building nesting boxes is a great project for individuals, families or civic organizations interested in connecting with wildlife. These box designs are proven to attract bluebirds and other native species, such as tree swallows and house wrens."
Bluebirds live in open country and are a beautiful songbird native to Pennsylvania. Bluebirds are cavity nesters and became less common due to a lack of suitable nest sites.
Boxes should be erected on a free-standing pole three to five feet above the ground facing south, if possible and facing a nearby tree or fence where young birds can safely land on their initial flights from the box. To reduce predation and competition from other species, no perch should be placed on the box and boxes placed in pairs, about 20 feet apart, may help reduce competition from swallows.
For more information on bluebirds, visit the Game Commission's website (http://www.pgc. state.pa.us/), click on "Wildlife" in the menu bar at the top of the homepage, and then select "Bluebird" in the "Wild Birds and Birding" section of the page.
Pennsylvania Game Commission officials are encouraging bird and nature fans throughout the state to join tens of thousands of everyday North American bird watchers for the 2013 Great Backyard Bird Count, Friday-Monday, Feb. 15-18.
A joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society, this free event is an opportunity for families, students, and people of all ages to discover the wonders of nature in backyards, schoolyards, and local parks, and, at the same time, make an important contribution to conservation.
"This project is a great way to 'Connect with Wildlife' starting at home," PGC executive director Carl Roe said. "Participants count birds and report their sightings online; it doesn't get any easier."
Participants can report at www.birdsource.org/gbbc.
Beckville Gun Club, Beckville Road, Cressona, is sponsoring an inaugural squirrel hunt, Saturday, Feb. 23, with weigh-ins from noon to 6:30 p.m. the day of the event at the club. Individuals and two-person teams are eligible, but all participants must be registered by 9 a.m. the day of the hunt. For information call Dave Blankenhorn at 570-573-1040.
Sunday's edition of "Experience The Outdoors," hosted by award-winning Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association member Doyle Dietz, at 7 a.m. on 1410-AM WLSH, at 9:30 a.m. on Magic 105.5-FM and on the Web at http://www.wmgh.com/ by clicking the link to the program, will feature "Petersen's Bowhunting" editor Christian Berg of Tamaqua.
Schuylkill Spurs Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation will meet, Thursday, Feb. 7, beginning at 7:30 p.m., at 633 Hancock St., McAdoo. For information, call Kevin Titus at 570-668-5903.
A National Wild Turkey Federation Hunting Heritage Banquet will be held by the Col-Mont Gobblers Chapter, Saturday, Feb. 9, with doors opening at 5 p.m., at the Elk's Hall, Route 11 North, Danville. For information and tickets contact Matt Swartz at 570-490-2784.
This year's Greater Philadelphia Outdoor Sportshow will be Thursday-Sunday, Feb. 14-17, with show hours Thursday, 1-9 p.m.; Friday, 12:30-9 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center at Oaks, Oaks. For information and tickets, access the website at http://www. sportshows.com/.
Tamaqua resident Christian Berg, the editor of "Petersen's Bowhunting" magazine, is organizing a Deer Hunter's Banquet, Saturday, March 2, beginning at 6 p.m., at Community Fire Company, Landingville, to benefit Kimmel's Church of Orwigsburg.
Guest speaker is whitetail biologist Grant Woods, the host of Growing Deer TV (http://www.growingdeer.tv/) and columnist for the magazine. In addition to his Web show, Woods is president of Woods and Associates, which develops deer-management plans for clients across the nation. For information and reservations call Berg at (717) 877-7448.
This year's Lehigh Valley Sportsmen Show will be Saturday and Sunday, March 2 and 3, with show hours Saturday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., at Agricultural Hall, Allentown Fairgrounds, Allentown. For information, call 610-395-5280 or access the website at http://www.pbmproductions.com/.