Floating Habitat Islands

What started as an artists sketch four decades ago has now become a working product. In 1970 artist Robert Smithson, perhaps best known for his ‘Spiral Jetty’ earthwork, created a sketch showing a tugboat towing a vegetated island on a river and called it “Floating Island“. During his lifetime he was never able to see the idea realized, but in 2005 a team was able to create the island and it toured the shores of Manhattan. There’s a great multimedia feature from the NY Times about the construction of the piece. The islands 30′ by 90′ surface had ten trees, several large rocks, shrubs and turf over bales of hay and soil.

Artist Lynne Hull came up a similar idea titled ‘Bird Barge‘ but on a smaller scale and adding a habitat element to it. Her barges are…

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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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Interview:: Project Nighthawk

(Photo via:: Project Nighthawk (NH Fish & Game Dept. (1 of 2 patches), Hazen Drive, Concord, NH. Nest patch in 6’x6’ frame, (smaller than the suggested 9’x9’ size) on top of pad. Large 1½ stone may be too big for nighthawks. Note shade structure. Photo by Mike Marchand.)

The Nighthawk is a bird that used to be abundant throughout the US but has been in decline in recent years. There are many potential reasons for this, among them is a change in the construction of roof tops. Nighthawks have been known to nest on roofs with gravel tops, but since most roof construction is now tar, they no longer nest on roofs. There are several reasons for this:  the heat of black roofs, the flatness causes eggs to roll around, and black roofs provide no camouflage. One project, in New Hampshire, is conducting a study to see if they can…

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Animal Wall in Cardiff Bay

In Cardiff Bay, Wales there is a new housing installation aimed at birds and bats. Gitta Gschwendtner, a German-born, London-based artist worked with ecologists to create the new housing in Century Warf containing 1,000 different boxes. The wall sits along a public river pathway, backed by a residential development. There are some good articles about the wall but I wanted to know a bit more so I asked Gitta a few questions which she kindly answered.

Were there specific species you were designing for? Do the nest boxes reflect those species with specific hole dimensions, material types?

Yes, the different boxes are sized for different species: Blue and great tits, piet wagtails, starling, sparrow and bats.

Have any been occupied since installation?

No, the Animal Wall has been installed in August last year and we will not expect any one in the boxes until this spring.

Are there any territorial issues between species…

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