Box-building with UTC and Lowe’s

Building bird nesting boxes with the help of Happinest, UTC and Lowe’s

On February 28, 2016 we were fortunate to partner with the Wildlife and Zoology Club at UTC for a box-building day. The members of the Wildlife Club constructed nest boxes for rehabilitated wildlife, under the instruction of local woodworking expert, Tyler Luttrell, of Grain Surgeons, LLC. Lowe’s Home Improvement of Hixson, TN, generously donated all the materials to Happinest. Kate Harrell graciously organized the project.

The nesting boxes are a necessary component of the release process for many rehabilitated animals. The boxes provide a safe place for the animals to nest while they are exploring their new environment. The boxes also remove the stress of competing with other animals for space and nesting resources. Oftentimes, food and water are provided along with the nesting box, so that the newly released animal has the best possible chance for adapting to the wild.

Bird nesting boxes built by UTC Zoology Club

Tyler designed the nesting box plans, and pre-cut the pieces to make assembly as easy as possible for the Wildlife Club. The faculty advisers of the Wildlife Club were also present; Dr. Brad Reynolds and Dr. Tom Wilson are members of the UTC Department of Biology, Geology & Environmental Science and assisted with organizing the event. The UTC students worked in small groups to drill holes, and fit the pieces together, reinforcing the seams with wood glue. Volunteers from Happinest, including Tyler, and the faculty advisers of the Wildlife Club brought power tools for the students who did not have their own.

It was a great day for everyone; twenty nesting boxes were constructed for Happinest. Ten boxes are designed for raptors and ten boxes were designed for squirrels. The students were excited for the opportunity to directly help local rehabilitated wildlife, and Happinest is so grateful for their enthusiasm and interest, as well as their assistance! We would like to express our sincere gratitude to Lowe’s Home Improvement of Hixson for their support, and the UTC Wildlife & Zoology Club for all of their hard work!

Thank YOU, Linda Koller

Linda Koller became a Happinester in the summer of 2015, during the height of baby season. She’s a devoted rehab volunteer who always brings something special for the birds, from newspapers to homemade treats. She even donated a double macaw cage, which serves as a flight cage for our songbirds. Linda has also gone out of her way to assist us in emergency out-of-town transports to Walden’s Puddle and UT College of Veterinarian Medicine.

After observing a Carolina Wren nest in her own backyard, Linda realized all the baby birds had died except one. She brought the singlet baby bird to Happinest for rehab. It turned out to be a brown-headed cowbird, which is a parasitic species. A female cowbird lays her eggs in the nests of other bird species, who then foster the cowbird baby as their own. We kept Linda’s cowbird for almost six weeks, and she released him once he was ready to go.

We appreciate Linda for all she has done and we look forward to more great experiences with her in the future!