PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. -- There's a new face around Pace's Pleasantville campus. No, not a new student or professor, this visitor has feathers and wings.
Roughly a year ago, in an effort to attract wildlife to Pace's environmental area, staff proposed hanging a number of bird houses on campus to draw song birds, raptors and water fowl to the area. "Our Assistant Director James Eyring, and volunteer Frank Leone set a goal of constructing a variety of bird houses," said Angelo Spillo, Director of Pace's Dyson College Nature Center. Operating with no funding, the pair solicited lumber from a number of sources with no success but the program got a kick-start thanks to a small gift.
With the donation, Eyring and Leone were able to purchase enough cedar to construct more than 50 bird houses. Thanks to the help of several Pace students, the boxes were constructed and mounted in trees in a matter of weeks. A number of Bluebird houses were installed around the pasture of the campus' farm animal section. This spring, the hard work has paid off.
"Last week I was in the area taking photos of a visiting group of Japanese students," said Spillo. "While I was waiting for them to arrive I ventured off to the entrance of our nature trail and noticed a bird about 50 yards away."
There was no question, it was a male Eastern Bluebird."
In Spillo's nearly 40 years at Pace, he's never seen one on campus. His sighting this week perhaps marks a turning point in the species’ return. Will bluebirds take up residence in the new homes? "Only time will tell," said Spillo. "I have to believe the efforts of James, Frank and student volunteers have at least gotten them interested." Perhaps this time next year, the new bird on the block won't be so new, after all.