Build bluebird nesting boxes at Audubon Volunteer Day

Members and friends of the Weminuche Audubon Society will gather at the Pagosa Springs Community Center Saturday to assemble several prefabricated houses — for bluebirds.

The event is the fifth of six planned Volunteer Days projects made possible by a generous $7,000 grant awarded the chapter by TogetherGreen (TG), last June. The chapter’s first four TG functions included efforts to preserve ponderosa pine snags as wildlife habitat; the construction and distribution of several songbird “roosting” boxes; and collection of winter wildlife tracking data for the benefit of area ranchers and wildlife managers.

The final TG event, scheduled April 18, will involve riparian habitat improvements through willow planting along a stretch of Mill Creek.

Announced in March 2008, TogetherGreen is an environmental alliance between the National Audubon Society and Toyota Motor Corporation. A $20 million Toyota grant — the largest Audubon has received in its 104-year history — will support TogetherGreen for another four years, which, in turn, will continue to fund conservation projects, train environmental leaders and offer volunteer opportunities to significantly benefit the environment, nationwide.

Saturday, between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., participants will construct nearly two dozen bluebird houses, or nesting boxes, for distribution throughout the Pagosa Springs area. Steve Mckain of Pathfinder Construction and Ben Bailey, chapter archivist and Hershey bluebird trail monitor, have pre-cut and drilled the materials, so attendees will only need to bring a hammer and Phillips screwdriver (power or manual) to complete the work.

While assembly progresses, lunch and refreshments will be provided, as Durango Bird Club member Susan Allerton discusses the importance of nesting boxes and how best to monitor them. Once the boxes are finished, chapter organizers will seek volunteers willing to mount and monitor them amid the community or near their homes. Monitoring will continue throughout the summer months.

Yet again, this Audubon event is free and open to the public, though nonmembers may want to consider joining the Weminuche chapter. For more information on this and other upcoming Audubon events, contact Dianne Lee of the Weminuche Audubon Society at 731-3011. You can e-mail her at leeroseen@centurytel.net.

chuck@pagosasun.com