Electric drills whirred loudly and the city council chambers smelled of fresh-cut wood during Birdhouse Building Day March 18 at St. Stephen City Hall.
Sponsored by the St. Stephen Sportsmen’s Club, the annual activity is always popular with children, parents and grandparents.
“I like building a birdhouse,” said Aiden Schmitz, 5, of St. Stephen. “I did this before. I think it was two years ago with my dad. It’s fun to put them together. My dad (Lloyd) always helps me. We’re going to put this in our front yard.”
Aiden and his father were just one family “team” who collected a small stack of pre-cut wood pieces and then proceeded to the long tables in the city council room. There, using drills provided, they put screws into pre-drilled holes in the wood until – presto! – a birdhouse appeared.
The kinds of houses made included homes for bluebirds and those for wood ducks.
Mindful of safety, parents, grandparents or older siblings helped the younger children hold and use the electric drills.
Also helping were members of the sportsmen’s club – Mike Legatt, Beverly Supan, Dan Justin.
The birdhouse building day started in 1985, Supan said, and the sportsmen’s club has sponsored it for the past five years. All of the wood is donated, much of it from local trees that had to be cut down for one reason or another. Then, the sportsmen or other volunteers use patterns to cut the wood into birdhouse pieces with pre-drilled holes, making assembly quite simple.
Since the activity began, 1,000 wood-duck houses and 2,000 bluebird houses have been assembled, Supan noted.
Last year, families put together about 70 houses, and there was a long waiting line at one point. This year, the sportsmen made sure there was enough wood for 100 houses.
Shawn Vouk of St. Stephen and his children, Catherine and Joseph, enjoyed working closely together to make two bluebird houses. When they were completed, the children happily showed them off.
“We really like putting these birdhouses together,” said Shawn, smiling. “The birds like them too.”