July 14, 2005
You've all heard about house calls, but have you ever heard of a house call for a bird? A local man's care for birds have saved a species from becoming extinct.
Knocking gently before entering, Dr. Bob Hammond has been making bird house calls for 19 years.
A retired veterinarian, he has taken care of all kinds of animals all his life, but now he has gone back to the ones he cared for first.
"We grew up on a farm in Northern Pennsylvania, and my mother always had three or four bluebird boxes out. So we helped monitor those," Bob shared.
Now he monitors 360 bluebird boxes and some of them have protective parents, which can make his job a dangerous one.
"They just might [dive-bomb us]," he said as birds swirled around his head. "They aren't happy about us fooling with their nest."
In the 1960s and 1970s, bluebirds were in danger of dying out because of loss of habitat. So people like Bob, all over the country, set up blue bird trails, or a series of bird houses, that saved the species.
"If you think of the impact it has here," he said. "The average number per year from the boxes I have out is about 1,300 bluebirds."
Besides providing homes, Bob also provides protection from people.
"People will come by the boxes and want to know what's inside and knock the lid off and then there are also vandals that smash them."
Being their protector is not something he minds.
"I just enjoy doing it," he smiled. "I guess if I didn't I guess I'd be crazy if I kept doing it."
The bluebird houses also attract tree swallows , and regardless of what kind of bird, it is not recommended that you touch or pick up any bird nests.