'Bettering' of bird boxes busts Scout project

Posted Wednesday, Feb. 06, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Editor's note: On Jan. 28, The Keller Citizen reported on members of the Texas Bluebird Society altering bird boxes along a trail and adding more near Sky Creek Ranch. The story, "Keller Nesting Boxes Make Bluebirds Feel Right At Home," included this passage:

"The 17 new boxes started as an Eagle Scout project for Ian Crispin of Keller's Troop 32. Mike Hagan, a local member of the Texas Bluebird Society and the Cross Timbers Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalist program, noticed the boxes and saw a way to improve both the boxes and their location.

"With permission from the city, he retrofitted the boxes with wider holes, wasp suppression measures and door latches. The boxes were then redeployed along the full length of the trail with Hagan finishing the last one in August." (bit.ly/VE9DQs)

The following tells another aspect of the story.

I am in Venture Crew 732 and attend Keller High School with Ian Crispin, the Eagle Scout whose project Mike Hagan altered. I was part of the team that Ian directed in building and installing birdhouses.

Before starting this project, Ian had to do numerous hours of research on the birdhouse size, height and distance from the bike path. He had to jump over a series of hurdles and had to get his project approved by Keller and the Boy Scouts of America.

His plan was not to provide a habitat for only bluebirds but also for cardinals and robins. Certain types of birds will live in birdhouses only with certain-size holes. Ian had researched the preferred hole size for each of these popular bird species living in Keller, so the hole size of each of the birdhouses varied, with five to six birdhouses per species.

Dozens of Scouts helped Ian build these birdhouses. We walked along Bear Creek Trail as a group and put the birdhouses in various trees according to the guidelines researched by Ian.

Each Scout kept track of which tree contained the birdhouse he or she helped build. Now that they have been removed and replaced, I have no joy when looking at the birdhouses because I have no idea which ones I helped build and install.

Although Mr. Hagan had permission from the city to remove the birdhouses and "better" them, he did not talk to Ian about his plans. I am sure that, had they talked it over, Mr. Hagan and Ian could have come to a reasonable agreement that would have benefited everyone and not just the Texas Bluebird Society.

This Eagle Scout project involved more than 100 hours of planning on Ian's part and 100-plus service hours by the Scouts who helped complete it.

"Improving" Ian's project without his knowledge undermined the broader scope that Ian had intended for the overall wildlife habitat.

Blake Butler, 17, is a Keller High School student

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