Hi! My name is Jenelle. I am one of the Youth Ambassadors for the Project Wild America Project at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute. This is the third week in the project and it is bat and bird week. Today, we went on a Chadakoin river walk and set up bird and bee boxes. They act as another habitat for wildlife as many other habitats are decreasing in size and quality. The bee houses are nailed to a tree and the bird houses are pounded into the ground. The reason the bird houses are on a PBC pipe instead of a tree, like the bee boxes, is for less disturbance from squirrels and raccoons. These bird and bee boxes are extremely helpful to keep our wildlife in Jamestown. It’s great to be part of a project that helps the local environment so much and setting up these houses was a fun and beneficial experience all around!
From bluejays, cardinals, chickadees and eagles to loons, ducks, woodpeckers, and robins, Jamestown has an array of birds that flourish in our lush greenery. Identifying, understanding, and tracking these complex flying creatures is a priority for the Project Wild America crew and the overall Roger Tory Peterson Institute. In order to provide homes for our local birds, we were given the opportunity to decorate and set up bird boxes. We painted our boxes (I did a big, cute bat), cut and drilled the PVC pipes, and walked along the Jamestown Riverwalk to place them all along the path. There are wren/ chickadee boxes, blue jay boxes, wood duck and screech owl boxes, and bat houses. We also nailed pollinator boxes for bees onto some of the trees. By having these boxes on a public nature walk, we are able to raise awareness about all the birds in our area and it allows the community to get involved by counting the birds and bees they see. The boxes/ houses are important in our environment since they provide more nesting habitats that may not be as available from the limited number of good trees that are not always livable for either birds or bees. The PVC pipes are also a major part of the set up, as they prevent other animals from climbing up to the boxes since they would slip down them. Birds are a vital part of our ecosystems and by putting in the effort to learn more about their environmental roles, we can be more appreciative of their beauty and complexity.
This morning in the middle of a parking lot lay an assembly line of PWA crewmembers putting together birdboxes and their PVC pipe foundations. We primarily spent our time sawing pipes and drilling screws. Personally, I was fairly proud of myself, utilizing an electric drill and handsaw for the first time, today. We then placed these wren-sized birdboxes along the Riverwalk near McCrea Point.
It stands as an important obligation to our local bird species to put up birdboxes, which serve to provide good habitats when the surrounding trees aren’t the most hospitable. Common birds around here that utilize these specially-made boxes include Wrens, Chickadees, Bluebirds, Screech Owls, and Wood Ducks. Placing these birdhouses into our environment helps to proliferate these local species, as well as provides the opportunity for citizen science, as folks can observe the emergence counts of birds that are nesting in these boxes and then
After three weeks of learning about conservation, and going out into the Jamestown community for outreach based on environmental concerns, this week’s focus of PWA are birds and bats! This far into the program we have been able to conduct emergence counts to survey the number of bats we have in Chautauqua County, this past Monday we were able to conduct one in Barcelona. Further, this week the crew has learned about the role of specific birds in our community and how we are able to preserve their habitats. We decorated Wren houses on Tuesday then today, Wednesday, we used PVC pipes to mount the houses along the Chadakoin bike path. Certain small animals such as squirrels or chipmunks aren’t able to climb up the PVC pipes because they’re too slippery, which preserves the habitats we are creating for them. Birds hold important roles in the ecosystem and our community as a whole; for example, they’re pollinators, transport seeds, and regulate pest control by eating insects. It is important to note that these bird houses are numbered and have the Roger Tory Peterson Institute’s contact information because our hope is when
community members see these habitats, they can report any interesting occurrences they witness! It is really important that PWA, stakeholders, community members, youth and older generations alike, work together by educating each other on such topics, and working together to conserve our beautiful natural community, such as bird habitats.
Every week at RTPI for Project Wild America, we focus on a specific group of plants or animals, and this week was bird week. For bird week, we gathered up all of the bird houses at our facilities and have started putting them along the Chadakoin river. Before we hung the birdhouses we took time to paint and decorate them, and I painted a chickadee on the side of the house. It is important to have birdhouses in our public parks that display our name and information to raise awareness for our cause, and it helps to have a nice painting on the side of the house to intrigue the public about nature. Birds play an important role in maintaining our ecosystem; more birds nesting means a greater control of insect populations as well as a biological indicator that an ecosystem is thriving based on birds’ abundance. Project Wild America will continue to do projects such as these and working hard to raise awareness for our community’s natural areas and making sure they are sustained.