Humber Earth Month takes flight with bird box making workshop

Mar 28, 2024 | Culture, Life

Humber College gears up for Earth Month with a unique workshop, conducted to give back to the local feathered population.

The Humber Arboretum hosted a free Bird Box Making Workshop on March 25, which was led by student and community engagement specialist, Emelia Maceasik, and her team of ambassadors and ambassadors-in-training.

Humber college, workshop event, Bird box making, Arboretum

Emelia Maceasik and her team ensured to help out the participants with all instructions necessary. Photo credit: Akhil Dalvi

The purpose of the workshop was to teach the participants the importance of bird boxes for the environment and to increase the available habitat for nesting birds this spring.

The workshop began with participants of the Humber community being divided into three groups. They were then given the necessary materials and instructions to build their bird boxes.

While the participants in each group used their ingenuity to build the boxes, Sarika Bhageratty, one of the ambassadors, provided expert context regarding which birds or species these boxes would attract.

Bird box making, Arboretum, Humber college

The bird box-building process was tricky yet fun. Photo credit: Akhil Dalvi

“These bird boxes are specifically targeted to swallows, but eventually if the swallows leave, mammals will come in,” Bhageratty said. “But at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what animal’s there because it’s a safe home for them and that’s kind of why we’re doing it.”

The ambassadors-in-training also explained how different types of bird boxes were suitable for various bird species and where they would ideally placed to ensure maximum usage by birds.

Humber College, Arboretum, bird box making

Participants got the chance to leave their signatures on their hand-made bird box Photo credit: Akhil Dalvi

After constructing the boxes, Maceasik and her team led everyone deeper into the trails of the Arboretum, eventually reaching the spot known as the Meadow Valley.

This is where the team began taking down the old bird boxes that were installed before the pandemic and were in dire need of replacement.

Maceasik said bird boxes are typically replaced between one and three years but it is essential to maintain them.

Humber College, Arboretum, bird box making

The participants were led down a short trail towards Meadow Valley Photo credit: Akhil Dalvi

“Depending on the weather and other environmental conditions, these boxes can be changed either in one, two or three years,” she said. “As these ones are pretty solid and are brand new from a pre-fabricated kit, I think these can be replaced about two years from now.

“If you do own a bird box then it’s important to clean them once a season to make sure that no pathogens or other bacteria or fungi can spread between the species that inhabit the spots,” Maceasik said.

Bird box workshop, spring, Humber Arboretum

It is these little ones who will use the bird boxes to their maximum potential Photo credit: Akhil Dalvi

As the new bird boxes were being put up meticulously, the team carefully checked the old bird boxes for any wildlife that may have taken refuge within them.

Denver Fonseca, a participant and an event management student at Humber North, said he was thrilled about the event as a whole.

“Making the actual box was a bit tricky but it was a lot of fun. I wish I could participate weekly, bi-weekly or even monthly in events such as this,” he said.

Bird box, Humber Arboretum, nature

The installed bird boxes are expected to remain in use for the next two years. Photo credit: Akhil Dalvi

Maceasik said she and her team will continue to engage different groups in the community and, for the next event, they intend to invite Rexdale residents.