Today I visited Penrhos College and installed 6 new nest boxes for the school grounds. The small 'bush garden' pictured above was the ideal spot for two of the boxes, and I climbed the tall Eucalypt centrepiece in which to hang them. Here's what the boxes look like from below (the higher box, designed for small parrots, is just visible near the top):
You can just make out that each nest box is numbered on the bottom side - this will help students write down their observations about any wildlife seen using them in a notebook that the school keeps in the admin. Such activities are an integral part of engaging the children with the environment of their school, and I find that 'everyone starts looking up' once you alert them to a nest box, and wants to keep looking up each day. Just what we are after!
When I had finished installing the boxes the lovely admin lady Michelle alerted me to a bird's nest in a tree in one of the school courtyards. It turned out to be a Grey Butcherbird, nesting right in the middle of the school! You might remember that I visited Penrhos last year to give some talks about local birds, and one of the highlights was finding a few birds nesting in the school grounds. These butcherbirds are almost certainly the same pair who made their nest in a Silver Birch tree at the school entrance last year. Below is a photo of this year's nest containing 3 eggs.
A big thanks to Polly and her son Austin for volunteering their time to help me install the nest boxes today, and to Michelle from Penrhos for her wonderful hospitality and giving us sandwiches and some lovely orange juice :)