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 shipping container. Shipping containers 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, bird hides are wooden or camouflaged to blend in with the surroundings. This helps the structures to look natural and not disturb the local wildlife. Hides feature large viewing windows or hatches so people can look outside in the comfort of the shelter without being noticed by wildlife. Hides are also used as outdoor classrooms, and often have space for benches, tables and shelving.
The Bird Hide Conversion Process
Converting a shipping container into a bird hide needn’t be a daunting process.
First, consider the layout of the site you wish to observe. Think about where the container 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, and that they can reach the hide without being seen by the wildlife. Planning this will suggest the best placement of the hide and its windows/hatches and doors. Containers can be modified easily, and S Jones Containers can install large hatches and/or windows into the sides and ends of the container. 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 cargo container double 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.
Bird hides are found in nature reserves and parks. Because of this, it’s desirable to match your converted container to the surroundings. Fortunately, it’s not difficult to achieve this. You can repaint the container 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 a container 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. Adding storage inside your container is straightforward. Custom-built shelving units can be installed to fit inside the container 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 converted container 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, shipping containers are durable. With occasional minor maintenance, a new (single trip) shipping container can last up to 50 years when in a static position. Additionally, the ‘raw materials’ used for a converted container 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 container is that it’s relatively portable. As and when necessary, the hide can be transported to different locations or removed completely. Moving a container 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.
Bird Hides From S Jones Containers
To build your own container bird hide, we’d recommend speaking to a container 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 hide. With this in mind, we designed a bird hide 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 conversions team and we can advise you on converting a shipping container. Our team will work with you to achieve the best outcome and value for money.