Spring is a time for new beginnings and thanks to the generosity of some locals three species of birds will hopefully be able to produce some off spring on the fire ravaged south coast.
The unprecedented bush fires last summer destroyed the habitat of bird species who normally breed in hollow tree branches, like the Sacred Kingfisher, Crimson Rosella and Kookaburra.
Members of the Parkes Rotary Club, in conjunction with the Parkes and Forbes Men’s Sheds, completed 75 bird boxes last week that will be placed on trees in time for the spring breeding season.
Ken Engsmyr from Parkes Rotary, who also serves on the Rotary Bushfire Recovery Committee, said when he heard Rotary clubs on the South Coast were making bird boxes he thought it was the perfect opportunity to repay a kind gesture. The Sapphire Coast Rotary Clubs visited Trundle during the drought and did some work in the town to support the community.
Ken involved the two Men’s Shed groups saying, “It gives us something to do jointly as we are all about returning something to our communities”.
The Rotary Bushfire Recovery Committee had received donations from Rotary clubs overseas and funds were made available to purchase the supplies.
There were three different box designs for the three different species of birds, and each participating group made 25 boxes.
“I had to learn how to make the boxes for the Crimson Rosella,” said Rotary member Cliff Cowal, who is an electrician by trade. “It felt good to get back into my shed. It was a great project for our club.”
While making bird boxes was not a novelty for the Parkes Men’s Shed members, the challenge was to draw up a design from a photo for the Sacred Kingfisher boxes. “We’ve made boxes for the Superb Parrot for a Northparkes Mines project, but this design was completely different,” said Ron Fewing.
“I just loved it,” said Ben Lan, who helped Ron. “It was an interesting project and it is a good feeling to do something for a good cause.”
Ken said the Rotary Bushfire Recovery Committee would also be very interested in taking the project further possibly providing funding for a study to see whether the boxes made a difference or whether the tree hollows that remained after the bushfires were still attractive to birds given the fire damage, charring and smell. “If hollows in burnt trees are not suitable for nesting, then nesting boxes may be very important to encourage birds to return.”
By Maggi Barnard