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These boxes are for the birds

  • AMY MILLER/TIMES NEWS Franklin Klock, naturalist at Carbon County Environmental Education Center in Summit Hill, constructs a bird box at the center. These boxes, which attract a number of species of birds, are available for purchase at the center.
    AMY MILLER/TIMES NEWS Franklin Klock, naturalist at Carbon County Environmental Education Center in Summit Hill, constructs a bird box at the center. These boxes, which attract a number of species of birds, are available for purchase at the center.
Published March 06. 2014 05:00PM

Bird lovers, are you looking to attract birds to your property?

If so, why not purchase a handmade bird box from the Carbon County Environmental Education Center in Summit Hill.

The boxes, which are available for a $10 donation, are all made by the staff as well as volunteers at the center.

They each have their own "quirks" to them since a number of people constructed the boxes.

Franklin Klock, naturalist at the center, explained the design is simple and attracts bluebirds, house wren, chickadees, tree swallows and other birds, as well as the occasional field mouse in the winter.

"The reason we do this is because the birds that use these are natural cavity nesters," he said.

"As trees die and rot you end up with a natural hole. The problem though is a lot of times when people clean up the first thing to go is the dead stuff and what you're actually doing is taking the natural cavities away so birds don't have any place to live," said Klock.

"These boxes bring those cavities back in a way that's a little more aesthetically pleasing."

He recommends hanging the boxes about five to eight feet off the ground and said that many find hanging the box facing East works nicely for the birds because they like the warmth of the rising sun.

He noted that to hang the box, you can either secure it using two screws, or drill two holes on the top edge and fasten it using a bungee cord wrapped around the tree.

The box also has a side panel that opens like a garage door to allow easy access to clean the box.

Klock said that it is important to clean the box around February or March so when the birds return, it is nest ready.

He also reminded everyone about the importance of cleaning birdfeeders and boxes with a 10-part water, one-part Clorox mixture to stop the spread of disease that birds can pass to each other.

Klock said that some sort of latch, like a finishing nail bent to create a turnkey latch, should be installed on the door so predators, like raccoons or cats, cannot get in the box.

The Carbon County Environmental Education Center has been building bird boxes for approximately a decade and at times, offers classes to build your own.

For more information on the center or to purchase a bird box, call 570-645-8597, or visit the center at 151 E. White Bear Drive, Summit Hill.

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