Robeson Township Environmental Advisory Council's 2nd Annual Bluebird Program March 29 drew a crowd of about 30 people, ages 2 to 87, to the first in this year's series of environmental programs held at The Village Library in Morgantown.
The speaker, Harold Lebo of Plowville, a retired physical therapist, is a well-known expert and speaker on birds and butterflies. He is a member of the American Birding Society, the Mengel Historical Society at Nolde Forest, The PA Bluebird Society and an avid reader of multiple bird and nature publications including National Geographic.
In addition he does tabulations and record keeping of local bluebird populations and habitats for publication. Jack Holcomb, WEEU -830 Radio host of 'Jack's Backyard' talk show on Saturday mornings, announces the summer public opening of Lebo's famed bluebird and butterfly garden on Buck Hollow Rd. , Birdsboro.
'God created all the birds and nature wanted to improve. Nature is God's second book. There are 1,9000,00 species of life on earth which includes 10,000 spices of birds' said Lebo.
An eager group of children and adults listened intently as Lebo lectured and quizzed his audience. He related that years ago he had noticed that he didn't see any bluebirds in the local area. He erected about 90 Bluebird boxes on Plow Road at Burkhart Farm on telephone poles, 5 to 6 feet off the ground. The Bluebirds started nesting and the population has been growing.
Attending children from ages 5 to 14 were very knowledgeable and able to identify the three species of American bluebirds: The Western, The Eastern and The Mountain, as well as the other birds such as blue jays, kingfishers and others displayed on Lebo's poster board.
The children were asked, 'Who are the predators of the bluebirds?' They immediately called out, 'Cats, snakes, raccoons, other birds and hawks.'
Lebo agreed and said that sparrows viciously cut the throats of the bluebirds, and hawks tear off their wings and feathers. Their attention was riveted now as Lebo introduced the bluebird boxes that were donated by Wild Birds Unlimited, Sinking Spring, to the EAC for this program. They are designed with a deep opening to prevent animals from reaching into the box and harming the birds.
Many of these children were homeschooled and had attended last year's seminar. Two brothers Michael Bach, 13, and John Bach, 14, arrived early eager to get started on building their boxes.
Lebo explained the boxes needed to be placed 50 feet from the woods to protect them from predators, and 100 feet apart and at least 5 feet high and facing south to protect them from the north wind.
After about 20 to 30 minutes to assemble their boxes, participants proudly displayed them and were told that an exterior grade brown paint could be used to make them last a long time.
Lebo cautioned them to keep the boxes clean after nesting season. Bluebirds build their nests with grass and pine needles and can produce up to three broods a year.
Dr. Chris Smith, chairman of the EAC and board members Mary Ellen Mohan, Chip Karasin and Dave Stanton shared the crowd's enthusiasm. Dr. Smith noted that upcoming programs include Butterflies, Raptors and Owls and Dark Skies (Light Pollution).
'Without the generous donation of Wild Birds Unlimited and our ongoing partnership with the library, these series would not be possible,' said Mary Ellen Mohan.
Chip Karastin thanked the people for coming, 'This is the first of a series. I hope the library will be as packed as it is today for the next one.'
People can register for new programs at the Village Library in Morgantown. You can find Robeson Environmental Advisory Council on Facebook for updates. Or check www.villagelibrary.org for schedules.