Echo | Birdhouse
Duration: 8 Weeks
Project Type: School Project (Individual)
Echo is a birdhouse that considers the needs of all users, birds and humans. Echo provides safe and cozy shelter to birds, and brings nature closer to humans. The concept of Echo birdhouse is “Long Lasting,” and this concept is presented using a design technique called Metaphorical Design.
Due to urban developments, many species of birds are losing natural habitats for safe breeding. Therefore, birdhouses help birds to protect themselves from predators and extreme weather.
For many bird species, nestlings spend the majority of their time inside cavities while adult birds are hunting/gathering food. Nestlings left alone in the nest are easy targets for predators such as snakes, racoons, chipmunks, minks, and weasels etc.
Nest boxes with predator guard increase survival rate of nestlings by about 7% (Bailey & Bontre, 2017).
General Guides for Nest Boxes
Materials - Wood is one of the best materials to use for the nest box building. Wood is easy to work with tools and machines, and wood does not conduct excessive heat.
Rain Protection - To protect birds from rain, add pitch to the roof and make sure all joints are tightly assembled. Also, a simple drainage system can be created by drilling ~0.125 inch diameter holes.
Heat Protection - Adding 0.25 inch ventilation holes near the top of the structure prevents nest boxes from reaching extreme temperature. Heat protection can also be implemented by painting nest boxes white or placing nest boxes in the shades.
Structure - Nest boxes may last longer if the floor is recessed above the bottom of the walls. Nest boxes are less likely to be damaged by freezing water if the floor is slightly recessed.
There are many features to look into when it comes to birdhouse design. First, a birdhouse needs to be bird friendly; the birdhouse needs to be safe and spacious for newborn nestlings and adult birds. Also, the birdhouse needs to be human friendly; the birdhouse needs to be easy to maintain and fits well with the surroundings.
Initial Ideation Sketches
All the important features (adjustability, maintenance, and aesthetic etc.) were explored for different environments such as National park and home owner’s backyard.
Quick small prototypes for exploring ideas and forms based on initial sketches.
Homeowners place birdhouses in their properties to bring nature closer to them. Homeowners provide places for birds to nest and in return, birds bring beautiful sounds of nature to people.
Many bird species in North America are migratory birds; many species fly to different countries depending on season (breeding season and winter etc.). This means, the majority of birdhouses are seasonal products.
Product Annual Usability Analysis
The chosen concept direction of this project was to design a birdhouse that can be used for a longer period of time (beyond the birds’ breeding season).
Can a birdhouse be functional to either homeowners or birds all year around, not just the breeding season?
A birdhouse built with modular parts. Modular parts disconnect and become a support structure for other backyard decorative products such as birdbath and bird feeder etc.
A birdhouse that turns into wind chime. This design works as a birdhouse during breeding season and as a wind chime during non-breeding season.
Concept 2 was chosen for further development because it involves less accessories for the non-breeding season application. A low fidelity prototype was used to test the collapsible mechanism inspired from Nick Baker’s collapsible stool design.
A. Protection Panels (Wind Chime Panels)
B. Entrance (1.5" Dia)
C. Nesting Space (Approx. 9.0" by 5.5" by 5.5")
D. Guide Steps
E. Water Drainage
Every component of the bird house is assembled and provides safe nesting space for birds; the nesting space of the bird house is in a locked position.
Sound of nature is provided by birds coming to construct the nest.
The base part and rod key are dissabled to provide a hollow body; the removable base part makes it easier for users to clean the empty nest. The nesting space of the bird house is in an unlocked (suspended) position.
Gentle wind blows and the suspended body makes contact with protection panels to provide sound.
Thank You Very Much for Reading
The purpose of Echo is to provide sounds of nature both during breeding and non-breeding seasons by transforming between the birdhouse and the wind chime. However, when echo is in the wind chime position, the movement of the body is limited due to 3 point nylon rope suspension.
Next step for this project is to test the wind chime mechanism using different suspensions using nylon rope instead of thin yarn.