At the Pioneer Garden Club's meeting Tuesday, Ann Blalock and her husband, Tom, handed each member a handmade bluebird house.
The Harlem couple worked hard to build the 30 wooden houses with the hopes of encouraging more bird-watching in the city.
Like Harlem's homes, no two birdhouses were the same.
Mayor Scott Dean and the Harlem City Council approved a proclamation during their Sept. 8 meeting to designate Harlem as a bluebird sanctuary - an idea supported by the Garden Club.
"I think it's fabulous. It is a great project and very worthwhile," Dean said of the project, which ties into other beautification efforts around the city. "It is not just the birdhouse. People will plant flower beds around them, so it is going to be gardening, too, and attracting wildlife."
A large sign proclaiming the city's designation will be placed in the Memory Gardens behind City Hall, Dean said.
"We have a lot of them," Ann Blalock said of Harlem's newly adopted, feathered charges. "Everyone we have talked to in our club said, 'Oh yeah, we have them in our neighborhood. Of course, Emily Middleton counts them as she walks."'
Tom Blalock said that in exchange for the cost of materials, he would be willing to build a bluebird house for anyone in the city wanting one.
"We hope it will be a start to bird watching," he said, "and we hope it will encourage other people in town to have them."
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