Collier accommodating rare bird species at golf course
One man is looking to build new housing and bring new residents — of the feathered variety — to the Collier Township area.
Carnegie resident Bill Wenger, in a letter to the Collier's parks and recreation board, asked to install a purple martin birdhouse in Hilltop Park.
Purple martins, a type of swallow, live in temperate regions across North America. The birds spend four to five months in the area before migrating to the Amazon area for the winter. The birds nest in holes and cavities, often in manmade birdhouses and hollowed out gourds. They prefer to live in colonies.
“Hurricane Agnes in 1972 killed lots across Pennsylvania and Ohio,” Wenger said. “They have been a very common bird, but then most of them died off. It took decades to get them back in the area.”
He said there are five purple martin colonies in Allegheny County, one of which is in Collier at the Nevillewood golf course.
Apartment-style birdhouses were put on the course early on, but trees had grown over them and purple martins prefer open areas, he said. Wenger worked with the grounds manager to move the houses to more open areas.
Now, Hilltop Park would be a good habitat for new houses, he said.
“Hilltop Park is so close that it would be a great place to start with the least amount of trouble,” he said. “The goal is to start maybe having some educational classes in Collier and put some housing up there.”
Wenger cares for several colonies of the birds in Pymatuning and Crawford County. During breeding season, he checks the houses and counts the eggs, monitoring them until they hatch and the young birds, ultimately, leave the nest.
“It's kind of become an obsession,” he said.
Township Commissioner Tim Young brought the idea to the board at the Oct. 30 meeting. He said he is in favor of placing a purple martin housing structure at Hilltop Park.
Wenger said he hopes to work with the parks and recreation board to get the project off the ground.
Collier Manager Sal Sirabella said while township officials welcome suggestions to improve parks, no taxpayer money would be used for this project.
“We are happy to support the efforts, but we have no intention of supplying any funding or support, direct or indirect,” he said.
Megan Guza is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5810 or email@example.com.
Add Megan Guza to your Google+ circles.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.