Presidio Habitats

Running now through May 15th of 2011 is Presidio Habitats in San Francisco. It is a joint venture between FOR-SITE Foundation and Presidio Trust and started running May 16th of this year. The Presidio has a long and interesting military history starting in 1776 with occupation under Spain followed by Mexico and finally the United States up until 1994. It is now a 1,491 acre national park with the Presidio now a National Historic Landmark District comprised of 469 historic buildings. The historic landscape is also part of the National Historic Landmark District and includes a historic forest which was army planted, transforming the dunes into a 300 acre forest.  Today Presidio is valuable wildlife habitat in the city and is home to many species of insects, reptiles and amphibians and bats and small mammals and as many as 200 bird species, as you can…

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Cambridgeshire’s Bird Hotel

This was mentioned in a recent Foragings post, but it has such great design implications that I wanted to feature it in more detail.

Over several years a landowner has turned previous agriculture land into a wetland habitat. Natural England helped with this transformation through their Higher Level Stewardship program which “aims to deliver significant environmental benefits in high priority situations and areas”. The program offers advice and and support to landowner’s for “more complex environmental management”. The most recent work at the site was the building of a wall sited to offer nesting for different bird species including the kingfisher and sand martin. Both of these bird species have Amber status from the RSPB which is the mid-level status for conservation. There are nearly 200 holes in the wall designed for the sand martin while…

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A Roof for the Birds:: Creating habitat on the Portland Mausoleum roof

This is my comprehensive project that I completed in my final year of the Landscape Architecture program at the University of Oregon. The two-term project was the culmination of my educational career and I wanted to choose something meaningful that would relate to my main interest of creating and designing urban wildlife habitat. I started to ask around and very quickly a project fell into my hands from Mike Houck, the Executive Director of the Urban Greenspace Institute in Portland. He has been responsible for creating Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge as well as a giant mural on the side of the Portland Mausoleum that overlooks Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge, and had been interested for some time in creating a green roof for the building. I was lucky enough to also consult with Bob Sallinger, Conservation Director for Portland Audubon as well as Tom Liptan from the Bureau of Environmental Services,…

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Stone Walls for Wildlife

Retaining walls are a fact of life for many landscapes, even those with only a slight slope. The majority of walls however, are constructed as a flat surface, stones bound together with mortar which don’t serve any benefit to wildlife. Stone walls however, can be quite beneficial for wildlife if designed and constructed correctly. Even if a retaining wall isn’t needed, rock shelters could be constructed in a similar manner. A rock wall, with crevices between the rocks add additional places for plants to grow and places for a variety of wildlife to take refuge in from the weather, predators, and further provide somewhere to raise young. Ground nesting bees could find space between the rocks to build their nests, cavities can be planned inside for mammals to hide or even hibernate, and small crevices can be an ideal shelter for reptiles and on lower, damper levels, amphibians. Other wildlife…

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Not Your Traditional Nest Box

When we talk about a nest box we usually envision a wooden structure, often in the shape of a human house, hanging from a tree in the backyard. However, if you talked about a nest box in the UK, they may have a different idea. The RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) has a page on their website about nestboxes for the roof. The swifts found in Europe, Apus apus are listed by the RSPB as amber status, which means they’re birds of concern because they’re numbers have plummeted in the last decade. While the reasons for their decline aren’t entirely clear,  speculation is that a significant aspect is a loss of nesting sites. Like some other birds, the swifts have come to rely on human structures for their nesting needs, but in the UK some established colonies have been lost due to…

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Nestworks 1 2 3

Nestworks 1 2 3 via:: 51% Studios

51% Studios, an architecture firm from London, has created Nestworks 1 2 3 as part of the London Festival of Architecture, running through this weekend. Their design is three, ready-made nesting structures, blocks, boughs and bushes, that are placed throughout London for people to find, or not find. They were advised by well known British Ornithologist Peter Holden who is known for starting Peregrine Falcon viewings at the Tate Modern. According to the firm, the nest designs are a “direct response to the festival’s theme of exchange: of knowl­edge, habi­tat, mate­ri­als.” In the focus on materials they discovered that the standard hollow…

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