On Saturday morning a little expert advice, and time with a few power tools, could help local families improve wildlife habitat in their backyards.
The Backyard Bird Workshop is being sponsored by the Wichita Audubon Society for the third time, and runs 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Great Plains Nature Center, near 29th and Woodlawn.
“The whole idea is to get people enthused about the things they can do in their own yard,” said Patty Marlett, a Wichita Audubon Society member. “We’ll be there to give them ideas on ways they can enjoy wildlife in their backyard even more.”
Part of the event will be helping the public construct up to 60 wooden birdhouses. Pete Janzen, another member, said he used scrap material from building a deck and cut the assorted pieces to exact sizes prior to the event.
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Jansen and other members will furnish cordless drills and the screws needed to assemble the houses, which are the perfect size for house wrens, a species that adapts quickly to man-made houses. Construction is easy and safe.
“We just kind of help people line up the pieces, and then let them drive the screws in,” said Janzen. “Everything’s been cut, so it’s pretty safe.”
Though many of the birdhouses are annually assembled by children and their families, Janzen said past workshops have had “pretty enthusiastic adults.”
Marlett and others will help the public make pine cone bird feeders, which are stuffed with peanut butter then covered heavily with birdseed.
She and other experienced Audubon members also will visit with the public and suggest how to use native plants in their backyards to attract everything from cardinals and hummingbirds to migrating monarch butterflies.
Cathy Clausen, of the Backyard Nature Center, will have a variety of feeders on display and explain how each best serves various locations and different species of songbirds. Marlett said no birding gear will be sold at the event.
Admission is free, as is the chance to build a birdhouse and pine cone feeder, though supplies are limited. Other than opening and closing, the event has no set schedule.
“It’s just a come and go as you like kind of thing,” Marlett said. “It’s all pretty relaxed and fun.”
Backyard Bird Workshop
When: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday
Where: Great Plains Nature Center, 6232 E. 29th St. North, near 29th and Woodlawn