The Charles Hill Park Bird House Collection
This post started with a tip from a friend in Del Ray about an impressive collection of bird houses in a neighborhood park. And, true to my friend’s word, I found about 25 bird houses of all shapes and sizes hanging from the tree branches at Charles Hill Park on the corner of Oxford and DeWitt Streets.
The person who’s responsible for the bird house collection is Pat Miller, a well-known Del Ray resident who runs the Del Ray Farmers Market and Art on the Avenue, and is involved in countless other civic and community organizations. The park is named after Corporal Charles W. Hill, a former member of the Alexandria Police Department who was killed in the line of duty in 1989. Pat is friends with Hill’s widow, Ginny Hill-Obranovich, who also thought the bird houses would be a lovely addition to the park. I met the two of them the other day for a tour of the collection. That’s Ginny on the left and Pat on the right of the park sign.
Once I saw one bird house, the rest came into focus, one after the other and each a little different…
Pat says she picks one or two up each time she drives home to Iowa, stopping along the way at flea markets or roadside shops.
This one is her favorite…
And she couldn’t wait to point out this silly one to me – the outhouse.
The latest addition is this one, the only one on the ground – the rest hang from the tree branches. I asked Pat if she was planning to add any more bird houses to the park. She grinned and said, “of course!”
Ginny and Pat told me that the park had been adopted a few years ago by the Alexandria Police Department Special Operations Team as a volunteer outreach effort. The team maintains the park throughout the year. It’s a lovely place to stroll and sit, and maybe even do some birding in the spring.