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How To Design A Bird Hide

  • Design
2nd July 2021

Thinking about building a bird hide? There are many factors you need to consider when building a bird or nature hide. Bird hides need to blend into the natural environment so the wildlife isn’t disturbed during observation and they also need to be durable and resistant to all weathers.

One solution to creating a functional bird hide is to convert a cargo unit. These units are built to withstand wind and rain, plus they can be easily adapted to suit their surroundings. Here are our recommendations for designing and building your own bird hide.

What Is A Bird Hide?

Bird hides are discreet shelters used to observe birds and other wildlife. They are often found in nature reserves and provide visitors with protection from the weather.

Traditionally, they are wooden or camouflaged to blend in with the surroundings. This helps the structures to look natural and not disturb the local wildlife. They also feature large viewing windows or hatches so people can look outside in the comfort of the shelter without being noticed by wildlife. They can also be used as outdoor classrooms, and often have space for benches, tables and shelving.

The Bird Hide Conversion Process

First, consider the layout of the site you wish to observe. Think about where the bird hide can be positioned, and whether it can be delivered to that position! Also, think about the number of people ‘observing’ at any one time. Planning this will suggest the best placement of the hide and its windows/hatches and doors. Units can be modified easily, and we can install large hatches and/or windows into the sides and ends of the unit. We can even create covered or uncovered observation platforms on the roof to provide a great venue for viewing wildlife.

Using standard personnel doors, rather than the double cargo doors provides easier accessibility for visitors. The cargo doors can either be removed to improve aesthetics or left on as a potential access route for large items. A ramp for wheelchair users who want to birdwatch is a good addition for a hide, as well as seating areas for comfort.

Often found in nature reserves and parks, it’s desirable to match your converted unit to the surroundings. Fortunately, it’s not difficult to achieve this. You can repaint your unit to any combination of suitable paint colour(s)/patterns, or add timber cladding to the exterior plant local plants to grow up and around the hide. These methods mask the industrial look and make your purchase more aesthetically pleasing – although the wildlife is likely to pay it no heed!

You may also want a storage area in your bird hide for books, equipment and extra seating. This is especially useful if the hide will be used for outdoor classroom lessons. Custom-built shelving units can be installed to fit inside your unit for more storage. If you do think you’ll need extra storage areas, make sure you consider the floor space you have and allow room for storage units within your floor plan. It may be beneficial to draw a CAD model of the hide so that you can be sure your chosen layout is suitable.

The Benefits Of Using A Container For Your Bird Hide

A bespoke conversion is a durable, cost-effective solution to creating your own custom-built bird hide. Designed to withstand the rigors of the shipping industry for up to 20 years, they are durable. With occasional minor maintenance, a new (single trip) box can last up to 50 years when in a static position. Additionally, the ‘raw materials’ used in the conversion process are relatively cheap. This provides a cost-effective solution to creating a custom-built bird hide to your own design and requirements.

Another benefit of using a bespoke unit is that it’s relatively portable. As and when necessary, the hide can be transported to different locations or removed completely. Moving a unit leaves no trace of its previous occupation, except perhaps for the four foundation points needed for the corner castings to sit on. If the site needs to be completely cleared, we can design the foundation points to be removed.

Buy From S Jones Containers

To build your own bird hide, we’d recommend speaking to a conversion specialist. S Jones Containers has previously worked on a bespoke bird hide for Paxton Pits Nature Reserve in Huntingdonshire. Our clients, the Friends of Paxton Pits Nature Reserve, were keen to install a new bird hide to replace an old damaged building. With this in mind, we designed a replacement made from a 40ft converted container. It included insulation, shelving, stools, a canopy roof and a disabled access personnel door.

If you need advice on creating your own bird hide, speak to our expert team and we can advise you on your project. Our team will work with you to achieve the best outcome and value for money.

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