Several years ago, Jackson Perisutti hiked through a nearby forest dotted with historic buildings, lakes, an inventive mill and a secret waterfall. Jackson’s tour guide and aunt, Beth Sanderson, described the unique structures originated by inventor Jim Kirby. This fascinating woodland is suitably named Ohio’s Hidden Treasure, Richfield Heritage Preserve.
Later, as a Strongsville Troop 701 Eagle Scout candidate, 15-year old Jackson learned RHP could use some bluebird nesting boxes. This was the perfect opportunity to work toward conserving the native Eastern Bluebird in this unique preserve. Jackson set his goal to build 10 bluebird nesting boxes, more than enough boxes to add a bluebird trail in Richfield Heritage Preserve.
Bluebirds require a special type of habitat so Jackson sought advice on how to build the best nesting box. He contacted the Ohio Bluebird Society for help and received a call from bluebird expert Dale Rabung, OBS Medina representative. Mr. Rabung flew right over and shared his bluebird knowledge and nesting box plan, which he has refined over the years for the best nesting results. Next, Jackson visited the preserve and later proposed his plan to the RHP board for approval. Then Jackson called on his dad and fellow Troop 701 scouts for help in constructing the boxes. After several weeks, the specially designed nesting boxes were complete.
Finally, the day for installing the carefully built nesting boxes arrived, Oct. 5. Armed with all the tools to install the boxes, the bluebird crew met at RHP. Bluebirds are picky; they prefer nesting cavities in open spaces with low vegetation. The nesting boxes must be spaced at least 100 yards apart. Jackson and the crew pounded in special poles armed with predator guards at the sites best suited for the bluebirds. Seven boxes were installed in a line located in a field near the power lines and two boxes are in the meadow by the upper lake Linnea, with the remaining box as a spare. The boxes all face southeast so the sun will warm them in the spring. Jackson is hopeful they will pass inspection by the bluebirds and host multiple broods this spring and many years to come.
Although Jackson’s Eagle Project is complete there is interesting work yet to be done. Here is where the bluebirder part comes into play. An important part of bluebird conservation is monitoring the nesting boxes. Mr. Rabung will give a presentation on how to monitor the boxes in the spring for Richfield Heritage Preserve. The Bluebird monitors will check the boxes and record their findings for the official Ohio Fledgling Count. A few lucky volunteers will be trained to help preserve this beautiful native bird. Contact Susan Czaplicki, RHP Volunteer Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org for an update on this special bluebird presentation. Richfield Heritage Preserve is located at 4374 Broadview Road in Richfield.
To learn more about Strongsville Boy Scout Troop 701 go to troop701.com. Registration night is Jan. 28, 7:30-8:30 p.m. at the Strongsville High School, Media Center Room, 20025 Lunn Rd. in Strongsville.