by TaLeiza Calloway
Area wood ducks, wrens and bluebirds will be living in style after the annual Birdhouse Night at the American Legion in St. Joseph earlier this month.
The event is sponsored by the St. Joseph Rod and Gun Club and has attracted hundreds of families and community members for the last 19 years. Such was the scene March 19 with the sounds of wood panels shifting and drills roaring through the Legion Hall.
St. Joseph resident Ofelia Jorgenson patiently waited for her chance to make a bluebird house. She watched her older brother, Micah, as he worked on a wood duck home. When it was her turn to start building, she needed to focus.
“It’s my roof,” Ofelia Jorgenson told her brother as he picked up the final piece to her birdhouse.
She wanted to make sure all her materials stayed close by. The 4-year-old and her brother proved to be natural carpenters during the event. This year was their first time at the event, Sara Jorgenson said of her children.
“It’s exciting,” Sara said. “We always miss it.”
Twelve-year-old Rose Kellner was handy with the drill. The St. Joseph resident and her father, Mike Kellner, worked fast as they constructed several houses. The two said they hope their creations do attract bluebirds.
John Keller has lived in St. Joseph for about seven years. He’s been a member of the Rod and Gun Club ever since his move and has also been a part of the annual event. In his opinion, it is a great way to keep youth active.
“This is good,” Keller said of the event. “We (are) just trying to do something for the kids. It’s fun.”
Al Kalla, one of the board members for the club, said each year participants make about 30 wood-duck houses, 100 bluebird houses and between 50 and 60 wren houses. Support is strong for the event each year, Kalla said.
“They enjoy it,” Kalla said.
Kalla said the event itself is very much a community effort, with several businesses helping and residents stepping up to make it all come together.
The club donates all the wood for the event. The birdhouses were pre-cut by retired carpenters and members of the St. Joseph Rod and Gun Club. Club members who helped to pre-cut the wood are Peter Giroux, Al Diedrich, Jerry Jones, Dick Taufen, Mike Westerhoff, Ron Rennie, Marvin Bierschbach and Kalla.
Kalla said all the supplies used were donated by Ace Hardware and Manion’s.