3rd Grade Brownie troop from St. Columban installed houses for blue birds

By Chuck Gibson

LOVELAND, OH (June 24, 2022) – Brownie Troop 4246 made up of 19 girls rising from 3rd grade at St. Columban School assembled and installed five blue bird houses in the St. Columban football practice fields earlier this spring.

A bluebird house assembled and installed by St. Columban 3rd Grade Brownie Troop 4246 (Provided)

Scout leader Erin Campbell says their effort was a “take action” project the girls did to complete their outdoor journey sequence. 

“At the beginning of the year, they voted on what kind of badges they wanted to complete,” said Campbell. They picked a bunch of these outdoor badges among other things.”

Campbell said some of their choices included the three in the outdoor journey. They are first-aid, hiking and cabin camper.

“We said alright these are an outdoor journey,” Campbell explained. “So, if we put it together with the ‘take action’, you’ll complete the journey.”

Late winter and headed toward spring 2022, they brainstormed a few ideas for their take action project. The girls voted in favor of building bluebird houses. In February, they met up with the Warren County Shannon Russell Pennington. The Warren County naturalist program held a backyard bird camp event in one of their County Parks.

“The girls got to talk to a lot of people who do birding and learn all about bluebird houses;” said Campbell, “how you should make them, which direction they should face and all the different facts.”

Not only did the girls from Troop 4246 use that information to build, assemble and install the bluebird houses on the grounds of the St. Columban School football field, but they created a video sharing all the different facts about bluebird houses and care.

Girls From Brownie Troop 4246 at St. Columban School assemble bluebrid houses (Provided)

“They assembled the bluebird houses,” Campbell explained. “The holes were pre-drilled by an adult, but they got the screwdrivers and screws to put the houses together. They got them assembled and there they were.”

For their safety, it was decided the girls were too young to use the power drills and other power tools to make the necessary materials to build the bluebird houses.

A “rat snake” provided a little extra excitement during the assembly of the bluebird houses (Provided)

Of course, they did run into a little excitement when they came across a “rat snake” invading their work space during assembly of the bluebird houses.

Several members of the St. Columban 3rd grade Brownie Troop 4246 in the field where they installed bluebird houses (Provided)

The next step was going out into the field to actually install the bluebird houses on the St. Columban football field property adjacent to the Grailville property. That was done with purpose in anticipation of the pending development of the Grailville property which could displace some bluebirds currently nesting in the natural setting there.

“There were all these plans to build the Drees houses behind St. Columban,” Campbell said. “We talked with the girls about the benefit of putting bluebird houses because bluebirds are cavity dwellers. If for some reason there is habitat loss back in the forest, this would be a new place for the birds to live.”  

It doesn’t end there for the girls of Brownie Troop 4246. They are hoping to learn from some of the people involved with Clermont County Parks about how to check the bluebird houses for invasive birds. They plan to go back out there in the fall to follow up and ensure their bluebird houses are free of any invasive birds.

“Other native birds could move in there,” said Campbell. “In that case, you just leave the nest alone. You can flip up the side of the bird house to see what kind of nest is in there. If it is an invasive bird, you are supposed to take out the nest and destroy it.”

Guidance from their leaders Stephanie Fenwick, and volunteer dad Joel Shimp helped the Brownies assemble the bluebird houses (Provided)

The trick is being sure it is not a native bird. It is illegal to destroy the nest of a native bird –even if it has moved into what was intended to be a house for the bluebirds. That is why the girls are seeking the training from experts from area park districts on how to identify whether it is a native bird nest or an invasive bird nest.

“They have to have a trained person to look at this and be sure they are doing the correct thing,” Campbell said. “That’s what they’re going to learn. We’re hoping to get someone from Clermont County to come out and meet us at the football field in the fall. Hopefully there will be some nests in the houses by then and we can go through it.”

CLICK HERE to watch the girls’ video tips on how to build and care for bluebird houses