This year's annual sale of bluebird boxes is underway by the Pennsylvania Game Commission at its Harrisburg headquarters at 2001 Elmerton Ave. Boxes sell for $9.54, including sales tax, and customers can select from assembled boxes or kits that can be assembled as a wood-working project.
"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 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 have become less common due to a lack of suitable nest sites. Many nest sites have been lost through changing land-use practices, as well as to urban and suburban sprawl. But the introductions of house sparrows and starlings in 1851 and 1890 have been the primary reasons for the bluebirds' decline, as these non-native species took over native bluebird nesting cavities.
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; bluebirds do not need one. Boxes placed in pairs, about 20 feet apart, may help reduce competition from swallows.
Sales will continue while supplies last, and office hours are Monday-Friday from 7:45 a.m. until 4 p.m. To order by phone, call the PGC office at 1-888-888-3459. If ordering by phone, shipping and handling costs will apply depending on how many boxes are ordered.
For more information on bluebirds, visit the PGC website at 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. Also, information about additional wildlife nesting structures can be found by putting your cursor on "Self-Help" in the menu bar at the top of the homepage, then clicking on "Download Forms and Brochures" in the drop-down menu listing, and then clicking on "Wildlife Homes Order Form" in the "Agency Programs" section.
Applications are now being accepted for the 18th annual Rivers Conservation and Fly Fishing Youth Camp being held Sunday-Friday, June 17–22 at the Allenberry Resort in Boiling Springs for applicants between the ages of 14-17. Founded in 1995 through the efforts of the late Dr. John R. "Jack" Beck and the late Enoch S. "Inky" Moore, Jr., their goal was to select 32 teenagers each year who are the leaders in their class with the thought that today's leaders in high school become the leader of tomorrow's communities.
This camp has a highly structured curriculum is based on college-level classes that includes ecology, aquatic biology, geology, hydrogeology, erosion and sedimentation control, ichthyology, riparian corridor protection, watershed management and entomology. Students also participate in a hands-on stream habitat improvement project.
Fly fishing and fly tying is included with nationally known instructors to teach the students fly casting, fly tying, stream etiquette and how to "read" the water. Camp is limited to 32 selected qualified students, and cost is $350 for the entire week, including meals and accommodations.
For more information or an application brochure contact the camp at Rivers Conservation and Fly Fishing Youth Camp, Box 71, Boiling Springs 17007, or on the Web at www.riverscamp.com .
Pennsylvania Game Commission personnel will hold its annual flushing surveys for the Central Susquehanna Wild Pheasant Recovery Area, Saturday, Feb. 18; Saturday, Feb. 25; and Saturday, March 3, from 1-4 p.m. each Volunteers, with our without dogs, must register by Wednesday, Feb. 8, by contact PGC pheasant biologist Colleen DeLong by calling (570) 380-0833 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org .
Port Clinton Fish and Game will conduct its annual coyote hunt, Saturday-Sunday, Feb. 18-26. For information, access the website at www.portclintonfishandgame.com , email email@example.com  or call Ted Knoblauch at 610-562-4310.
Schuylkill County Chapter of Pheasants Forever will hold its annual banquet, Saturday, Feb. 25, beginning at 4:30 p.m., at the Community Fire Company, Landingville. For information, call Craig Morgan at 570-739-2627.
Schuylkill Spurs Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation will hold its annual banquet, Saturday, March 10, beginning at 5 p.m., at the Community Fire Company, Landingville. For information, call Jeff Post at 570-366-7783 or Mike Corbin at 570-929-1622.
This week's edition of "Experience The Outdoors," hosted by award-winning Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association member Doyle Dietz, Sunday, at 7 a.m. on 1410 WLSH and 9:30 a.m. on Magic 105.5, will feature PGC board of game commissioners president Ralph Martone.
A trap shoot will be held, Thursday, Feb. 9, beginning at 6 p.m., at Orwigsburg Gun Club, Gun Club Road, off Route 443 East, Orwigsburg. For information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org .
2012 Outdoors Sports Show Schedule: 18th Century Artisan Show, today, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Country Cupboard, Lewisburg. Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show, today-Sunday, Feb. 12, Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex, 2300 North Cameron St., Harrisburg. Hours: Sundays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturdays and Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; for information and tickets, access the website at www.easternsportshow.com . Lancaster Muzzle Loading Rifle Association Gun Show, today and Sunday, Lancaster Farm and Home Center, 1383 Arcadia Road, Lancaster. Hours: today, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sportsman's Show and Flea Market, Saturday, Feb. 11, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Farmer's Market, Leesport; for information, contact Ralph Reber at 610-944-9376 or access the website at www.ralphsfishing.com . Greater Philadelphia Outdoor Sports Show, Thursday-Sunday, Feb. 16-19, Greater Philadelphia Expo Center, Oaks. Show hours: Thursday, 1–9 p.m.; Friday, 12:30–9 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; for information and tickets, access the website at www.sportshows.com .