UMFK professor seeks landowners willing to allow birdhouses on their property
FORT KENT, Maine — A University of Maine at Fort Kent professor is offering free birdhouses to St. John Valley folks willing to post them on their land.
Birdwatchers and those less enthusiastic about birds but who are willing to allow the flying, feathered creatures to squat on their land for the summer months can obtain free cedar bird boxes from Dr. Neil Thompson, a forestry professor who teaches courses in geography and forestry at UMFK,
Thompson constructed 150 wooden birdhouses over the winter and thus far has planted about 40 of them in the Crocker Beach area of UMFK and at the Fournier Biological Park. Thompson built the bird boxes out of local lumber obtained from Voisine Cedar Mill based in Frenchville.
The professor is studying avian habits in conjunction with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology Nest Watch Program, the goal of which is to collect “valuable data on the successes and failures of nesting birds.”
Those who allow the bird boxes on their property will be provided data sheets to record bird behavior twice weekly, or UMFK students can come around and collect the data.
“We do the installation (of the bird boxes) and the landowner can do the monitoring or we can come and do that,” Thompson said.
He also is reaching out to local public schools to seek installation of the bird houses there as well so students can learn about ornithology while helping to collect bird behavior data.
Thompson, originally from Yarmouth, graduated magna cum laude from the University of Maine with a bachelor’s degree in forestry before going on to the University of Northern British Columbia where he earned his doctorate in natural resources and environmental science.
Anyone interested in learning more about the project can contact Thompson via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.