IRC coordinator introduces birdhouse workshop idea

Sessions could be fundraiser for libraries and Keep Blair Beautiful

Birds often perch on traffic signals, and they may wonder what goes on inside the boxes where lights continually flash red, yellow and green.

Birds in this region may get a chance not only to look inside but to live within those boxes as the result of a flash of insight from the staff of the Intermunicipal Relations Committee.

Altoona’s electrical depart­ment recently brought the IRC 200 plastic housings from signals that it had converted to LED, so the housings could be recycled, according to IRC Executive Director John Frederick.

The staff made inquiries and determined that recycling the plastic was probably impractical, he said.

But someone noticed that, when the fixtures were oriented a certain way, they looked like birdhouses, he said.

The fixtures — each only big enough for a bulb and a lens — have large holes for the lenses and small holes on top and bottom for wires, Frederick said.

IRC education and enforcement coordinator Katrina Pope introduced the birdhouse idea at a meeting of Keep Blair Beautiful — which she heads — this week.

She plans to consult the Audubon Society to ensure the housings would make suitable avian lodgings, and if the answer is positive, she’ll hold workshops in the fall to make the necessary alterations.

Prior to those workshops, she plans to arrange with the Hollidaysburg Area High School woodshop program to cut material — wood or plexiglass — to cover the lens holes, which would become the floors of the birdhouses, she said.

The wire holes, on the fronts and backs, would be for entrances and exits.

The workshops could serve as fundraisers for KBB and for local libraries, via an entry fee for participants who would put them together, perhaps paint them decoratively, then take them home to hang in their gardens and backyards, Pope said.

Some boxes could be given to the administrators of public parks, Pope said.

Some of the housings could be used as owl boxes, if the big holes were left open, the small holes closed and the housings oriented as they were on the street, she said.

Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 949-7038.