Beloit Village Parks adds birdhouse village


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Jun 14, 2023

Beloit Village Parks adds birdhouse village

BELOIT – A colorful new birdhouse sculpture sits at Beloit Village Park as a

BELOIT – A colorful new birdhouse sculpture sits at Beloit Village Park as a tribute to an area resident's late family members.

Phyllis Lichter Naylor funded the project to honor her parents, Joe and Mary, and three siblings, Jim, Bob and Bev. The structure contains 22 birdhouses for various types of birds, such as robins, cardinals, doves and goldfinches.

"I wanted to do something (for my family)," Naylor said. "I enjoy birds. They fascinate me. I've been watching them for years. And I just wanted something that was peaceful and calm and be able to sit and kind of reflect on my family."

Naylor started looking into the idea about a year ago. She previously created a Children's Little Free Library in Beloit Village Park to honor her late husband, Dwight, who was a Beloit native and U.S. Marine.

Naylor enlisted the help of Beloit residents and woodworkers Jim and Donna McNatt.

"Phyllis has lots of creative ideas," Jim McNatt said. "And she knows that I'm a woodworker and enjoy building things. I take care of the park. She comes up with creative ideas to make the park better, and she's a real advocate for the park."

Jim McNatt said they started with pictures of other birdhouse sculptures around the country. They modified these ideas to fit what they wanted theirs to look like.

They used reclaimed wood to build birdhouses geared toward different types of birds. This included open-nesting shelves for robins, cardinals, doves and jays, houses with small entrance holes for chickadees, goldfinches, titmouse and nuthatch and houses with medium entrance holes for wrens, house sparrows, downy woodpeckers and other finches.

"This spring, we got some volunteers that painted (the birdhouses)," Naylor said. "And we did buy a couple from stores. We put it together about a month ago."

She said the structure reaches up to 17 feet and is topped with a three-story bird penthouse. Five wooden branches sprout off the structure, containing birdhouses for various species.

Two horseshoes are attached to the center pole for small bird families to nest. Nearby hang two cages filled with nesting materials, and the base has bird-friendly and easy-care sunflowers and hosta.

Naylor said it's exciting to see birds start to use structure.

"One of the things we had was a bluebird house on the edge of the trees," she said. "And I was over there last week and caught something out of the corner of my eye, and there is a bluebird couple that has already taken up residence in that bluebird house."

Several copies of "Birds & Blooms" magazine have been placed in the little free library near the park's entrance. These are free to anyone visiting the park.

Naylor said she is happy to be able to add a new attraction to Beloit Village Park for visitors to enjoy.

McNatt said he was "thrilled" with how the project turned out and was surprised by how quickly birds had taken residence in the houses.

"The birds were there within a couple days," he said.

Reach Paige at 330-580-8577 or [email protected], or on Twitter at @paigembenn.