Re: birds in inner Melbourne

Subject: Re: birds in inner Melbourne
From: "Merrilyn Serong" <>
Date: Tue, 01 Sep 1998 21:40:11 -0700


> I am an artist & design academic developing an (unusual?) artwork for
> the Melbourne Festival (mid October to early November) which will
> involve the making of a large sculpture with approximately 750kilos of
> bird seed (something like a giant birdy-bell).  It will be placed on grass at
> the corner of Flinders and Swanston streets to be slowly (or quickly)
> eaten away over the three week duration of the festival.  I expect it will
> easily attract a lot of pigeons, and probably a bit of media attention.   I
> plan to make a time elapse film capturing the birds eating away the
> sculpture.
> Interestingly enough I notice that Birds Australia ?Bird Week? coincides
> with the festival.
> I have a few queries which I hope readers of this list may be able to assist
> me with, or be able to direct me further.
> 1.  I would like the sculpture to attract a range of birds if possible ?
> particularly indigenous birds.  I plan to use a variety of seed ? pannicum,
> millet, milo / sorghum, wheat and sunflower.  What birds do you think I
> might expect to attract?   Any suggestions on how I might get the
> pigeons to move aside and best attract indigenous birds (eg those
> migrating at the time?)
> I   believe that it is standard practice for birdy-bell manufacturers to use
>     a diluted PVA glue (standard wood-working or craft glue) to bind
>     together seed into larger shapes (casein for smaller shapes).  I am
>     told that the PVA on the husk ?goes through as roughage?, or some
>     birds eat only the seed kernal after de-husking it.  Can you offer - or
>     advise me as to how I might  gain ? confirmation that PVA (poly-vinyl-
>     acetate) will not have negative effects on birds who may encounter
>     it.   I beleive it is the chloride in Vinyl (ie PVC - poly-vinyl-choride)
>     which is the risk.
> Thanks for your time, and hope you may be able to assist me.
> _________________________________

  Leaving aside problems associated with feeding birds (addressed by Ian Temby),
a non-toxic edible glue that would be preferable to PVA is starch dextrin glue
which is used by bookbinders.  I enquired about it a year ago and Nordale in 
Heidelberg (phone 9459 5211) will sell a minimum of 20 litres.  For smaller
amounts (not that you would want a small amount for your project) you could try
contacting a bookbinder such as Trio Bookbinders in Huntingdale (phone 9544

Hope that helps,

Merrilyn Serong

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU