Nature provided our native birds to keep the proper balance in insect life, but, because we have neglected to afford necessary protection, the birds have decreased and insects have increased to an alarming extent. It is our patriotic duty, therefore, to work for a re-establishment of nature's balance, and one way to aid in bringing this about is to give the birds all possible protection during the nesting season, by providing houses for those that nest in houses, and by making war upon bird enemies.
Bird-House Campaigns. The bird-house campaign has developed into a national movement, so much so, in fact, that the school which cannot boast of bird-house building activities is reckoned unprogressive. In a recent campaign in Pittsburgh, the boys of the public schools built more than 6,000 bird houses. An exhibit of some of the houses is shown in the photograph of Fig. 665. It is estimated that more than 15,000 houses were made in one year by the boys of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania; in St. Paul, nearly 4,000 houses were entered in a contest held by the Board of Education; in Seattle, enough houses were disposed of by
Fig. 665. - Bird-Houses Entered in a Contest Held by the Pittsburgh Public Schools (The Bird Castles and Bird Towers were built from Plans in the Author's Book " Handicraft for Handy Boys") one school to make possible the purchase of a first-class printing outfit and many other good records have come to the author from schools, communities, and individuals to whom his bird-house plans have been supplied.
If your community has not had a bird-house building contest, write to the editor of your newspaper and ask him to start a campaign. He will recognize in this feature material that will interest a large percentage of readers, and, if his space will permit, he may comply with your request. Public-spirited business men are generally glad to donate prizes for the best houses entered in contests, and of course prizes stimulate interest, for what boy will not "work his head off" to win a prize?
Bird-house building is
A Good All-the-Year Around Activity. It is never too late or too early to put out houses. If too late for the nesting season, the houses at least improve the appearance of the home grounds. Weathering not only makes the houses fit in better with the surroundings, but also renders them more acceptable next season to the birds.
Besides building bird-houses yourself, you can serve the birds by encouraging others to do likewise. In fact, you can get other boys to work with you. For the purpose of enlisting every bird-lover in the work, the author founded
The American Bird-House League,* and the league's slogan "A home for every native house-nesting bird" gives promise of a goal not beyond the possibility of attainment, for already it has a widespread membership covering nearly every section of the United States and Canada.
*It you or your teacher would be interested in full particulars concerning the American Bird-House League, a stamp sent to A. Neely Hall, Elmhurst, Illinois, will bring you a copy of "Handicraft News," which tells all about it.
Fig. 666. - League Button
Work To Be Proud Of. When you have enlisted your services in the national bird conservation movement, by building bird-houses and encouraging others to build them, think of your pride when you walk about town after your houses have been erected, and point them out everywhere. Father will be mighty proud of his boy craftsman, your friends will envy you, and you will gain a reputation as an expert bird-house builder.
It's lots of fun building bird-houses and it's lots of fun selling them because they sell readily among bird-lovers. You can establish
A Boy's Bird-House Factory with the certainty of enjoying the work and of earning lots of money, as others among the author's readers have done. The following two letters from
Fig. 667. - Print your Stationery Like This boys who have followed the author's suggestions are convincing : Clessand V. Mulholland of Birmingham, Michigan, writes:
"I sold about forty houses last spring from thirty cents up, and would have sold more only I sprained my ankle. We sold about twenty-three of one model at fifty cents, and it cost about two cents to make. Your plans helped us immensely. We made the large twenty-eight-room martin house and this caused considerable attention around town. We won three first prizes and two second prizes in contests. As to selling bird houses, it was easy. The Woman's Club helped push our business along. We have planned next spring's campaign, and have use of a prominent store window for our display. We are making posters telling how much good the birds do. People are always ready to buy as they know they are helping the birds as well as us."