It’s Hard not to Love a Bluebird


There are four septagenarians at Landis Homes Retirement Community, Lititz, PA that have a “can do spirit” They might be retired, but they still have limitless energy when a worthwhile project comes along. In November 2013 Richard Weaver, Roland Yoder, Warren Shenk and Norman Shenk banded together to build a new “Bluebird Trail” at Landis Homes.

This retirement community is nestled on a 114 acre campus with wetlands, four ponds, multiple walking trails and surrounded by Lancaster County farmland. For the benefit of their 800 residents, these four men decided that a “community Bluebird trail” would be just what the residents needed. Warren Shenk built 40 bluebird nest boxes in the well-equipped wood shop at Landis Homes. The wood shop is complete with every power tool imaginable (each with dust control vacuum system) and an adjoining room with 8 individual work stations for assembly. Warren built 20 NABS boxes and 20 PVC models.

The original project plans targeted 10 or 12 boxes as a starting point, but the plans grew each week . It all started with a Bluebird presentation at Landis Homes in October 2012 given by Dean Rust, Lancaster County Coordinator for BSP. After the program Dean gave a PVC model to Warren who was interested in building bluebird boxes. A Landis Home bus tour on May 3, 2013 to observe boxes “close up” on a Bluebird trail at Calvary Church was hosted by Dean. Jean and Norman Shenk were on the tour and they had seen bluebirds behind their cottage just after moving to Landis Homes in Feb.Landis Home's woodshop with Shenk Brothers

Warren and Norman, brothers, got together with Roland and Richard and the planning stage began. These men caught the vision that a Bluebird project was perfect for their community and they had the skills to make it happen. At the present, 35 Bluebird nest boxes have been installed on 1” pipe and each box has a predator baffle. Richard, Warren and Norman all helped with the installation. Roland was involved with the site selection for the boxes and he will oversee the “trail monitoring” next spring. Warren “rebuilt” an old wood duck box and made a new one for their ponds.

Landis Homes has a perfect habitat with open spaces, plenty of mowed grass plus many residents to admire their new trail of nest boxes. And best of all, the little blue occupants that will surely come next March to Landis Homes.

Dean C. Rust
President of The Bluebird Society of Pennsylvania