By Lizette Gilday

Students from Heroes’ Memorial Elementary School and MECA (Mont Echo Conservation Association) are teaming up to respond to the plight of the eastern blue bird whose population has plummeted due to a lack of nesting places and competition from species introduced from Europe, such as starlings and house swallows.

Students from grades four and five are engaged in a two year project. They began with an information session from Paul Cote’s Brome Bird Care. Under the supervision of Kevin Battley and Michael Herman, and working in groups of four to eight, they have hung blue bird boxes along Mont Echo and Stagecoach Roads to create a local blue bird trail. They are also taking on the task of cleaning and maintaining the boxes. This will take place in mid June after the first nesting period to prepare for the second clutch, and again in mid-September to clean and prepare the houses for winter.

Principal, Anne Stairs, and her teachers are supporting this worthwhile project by integrating it into the curriculum. The students will be maintaining statistics on a variety of factors. They want to see if bird houses placed together are more or less likely to be inhabited and if bluebirds and swallows will co-habitate. There are two styles of houses: the Peterson and the Battley and they will be assessing if the bluebirds appear to have a preference for one type over the other. All of the houses have a GPS location.

MECA calls on local bird enthusiasts to join the cause and erect bluebird boxes on their property. It is not too late! Round One is just wrapping up and the fledglings are about to fly from the nest, but round two for bluebird egg laying is in mid-July.

Blue bird boxes can be purchased by contacting Lizette Gilday at 450-243-1280 or lizettegilday@gmail.com.