Bird Hides

To: "Birding-aus" <>
Subject: Bird Hides
From: "Michael J Hunter" <>
Date: Fri, 2 Jun 2000 18:05:40 +1000
             I think that the Birds Australia shop in Melbourne has a booklet on bird hides, maybe they could express it up.
             There is a very good hide at Mamukala wetland in Kakadu, built by the Parks and Wildlife Commission of the Northern Territory, [I think], perhaps they could fax a plan through if you could get through the red tape in time.
             All the best close-up hides I have seen in the UK, Africa, Asia and Australia are timber, with the access path invisible to the waders,ie a fence of some description on each side of the path, or an approach through thick vegetation.They have slit-like viewing windows , sometimes at two or three levels, for standing sitting and scope level, to allow more observers at any one time, and a bench for the sitters. Ceiling high enough to stand, wide enough for people to walk in and out behind the viewers, waterproof roof,and the hide situated so that all the roosting area is visible .Some have shades extending out above the viewing slit to keep the sun out of viewers eyes and glinting off lenses, as well as protection against rain.Colours subdued of course, to blend in with the background, but some hides stick out like a sore thumb and work well.
          An elevated hide can improve the view as long as you aren't looking straight down on the birds. Any old North Queensland builder would know how to build on stilts.
          I doubt whether there is a 'standard' hide, it depends on numbers of people using it and so forth, but a builder should be able to make what is essentially an unlined timber shed with slits for windows.
         The most sophisticated hide we've seen was at Lambert's Bay in South Africa for watching Jackass Penguins and Cape Gannets in particular, it was concrete with glass windows, but as much for protecting the birds from the people as for a hide, and to protect tourists from the smell.
            In reality any old shed will do, even a parked car, the trick is not to let the birds know you are there.
                                  Good Luck
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