Discovery Sunday at RSPB Dove Stone reservoir promised to be a great day but the British weather had other plans. We set off into a spring like morning and were joined by a few intrepid early risers to decorate an Art Bird and make a nest box. But the rain and wind slowly crept across the hills, hiding the peregrines on Dove Stone Quarry and forcing us to shelter under our hastily erected gazebo. Then the snow set in. By lunchtime we realised our gazebo wasn’t built for the suddenly arctic conditions and decided we’d better call it a day and make a swift exit before we froze.
Well done to the brave few who joined us to decorate an Art Bird and make a nest box and we hope to return for a full day in Summer. Meanwhile how’s about abirdigloo for the resident penguins?
As part of Well Good Arts Week the abirdabode big bird box landed at Gallery Oldham to give everyone chance to decorate an Art Bird.
People flocked to the big abirdabode and we were very busy all day with visitors of all ages decorating a multitude of Art Birds. A grand total of 142 Art Birds were created in a huge variety of dazzling designs from vibrant visions in spectacular colours to realistic Robins and Bluetits.
Every Art Bird created will be on display as part of the abirdabode exhibition and the Art Bird Flock is certainly going to look fantastic. Kettle (the Oldham Otter) was amazed (and very jealous of the Art Birds’ colourful plumage!).
Our second visit to the brilliant Barrier Breakers and it was time to get painting, once we’d finished construction of the nest boxes that is…
Building the roofs for the diamond shaped boxes was made easier by using a specially constructed roof jig to hold the pieces at the required 90degrees whilst screwing them together and once the final pieces of the boxes were fixed and all the roofs completed painting began.
Base coats where swiftly applied in a multitude of colours and then planning for details and top coats was made whilst the paint dried. Everyone enjoyed choosing colours and planning the look of their nest boxes; Nathan and (Hi) Lee are working in collaboration to produce rival Man Utd & Man City bird boxes so painted a base coat of green to be detailed as a football pitch next week. Leah also chose a green base for her Rugby Team theme, Kyle and Michael chose light blue as a sky effect and Sophie went for a lovely rich lion golden brown.
We were also thrilled to welcome new Barrier Breaker Katie to the project and she proved a dab hand at bird box making and in no time had her nest box ready for her beautiful love birds theme design.
Some of the group will be cutting out 3D elements to enhance their designs so there was also scroll saw and band saw training to take part in! Kash took over as official group photographer for the night and took some great pictures (as well as a few selfies!).
All in all it was a very busy session but once again the group all worked together brilliantly (especially Nathan and Lewis who took on wandering assistants roles and helped everyone finish their making) and achieved a tremendous amount and had a great and really creative time.
Back to Grass Roots after the Xmas break and straight into getting the Big abirdabode standing. Whilst abirdabode had been away work had proceeded apace and the reclaimed timber sides required very little work to complete- merely making sure all the screws were in the right place and not sticking out (well spotted Kelly!) and a quick trim to cut the sides flush; some great sychronised sawing from Mason and Paddy!
The other sides of the box were also nearly complete, the wood rounds looking really beautiful with Nathan taking charge of the fiddly task of filling all the gaps with tiny rounds cut from twigs (rather him then me!) and the mosaic side being managed by Kenny and his nimble gluing fingers.
Darren also return to help and working with Neil, Mark and new member Joseph we soon had the roof sides completed, reinforced and the great news was; they fitted first time.
Just before lunch on friday we got the Grass Roots big abirdabode standing and it looks great! It’s big enough for three people to fit inside as long as they’re not as tall as Mark!
Holly’s Art Birdbox will take the form of a fantasy castle guarded by a fearsome dragon carved in low relief.
My birdbox design is inspired by my love of reptiles, which leads to dragons, causing my design. My initial plan was to have a generic-looking birdbox with a dragon curled around it, as if it was trying to get inside, I upgraded this to a Castle to fit with a stereotypical dragon theme and worked from there.
I started by making my maquette, which is slightly different to my final design, which has dividers to make the inner area smaller so it would be easier to warm up and take less materials to pad out.
The last Grassroots session before Xmas and everyone was in a festive mood and before heading out to the poly tunnel to continue making there was just time to try on a policeman’s hat to see who it suited best?
Hat hijinks finished the group swiftly divided into teams. Kenny, Nathan, Paddy, Mason and Loz set to work with Jacqui and Andy adding more reclaimed timber cladding to two of the bird box sides, By the end of the morning they were looking great with a variety of colours and textures making a really striking finish. Neil, Nathan and Kelly worked especially hard with the complicated task of building the curved roof from old floor boards, the measuring ad cutting involved a bit of a guess so we hope it fits better than the policewoman’s hat!
abirdabode’s second week at Grassroots and the group worked hard to get the big abirdabode standing. Neil, Kelly, Nathan and Kenny built up the last two side frames and covered them in exterior ply whilst Mason and Paddy set to work ‘carefully’ dismantling some old wooden doors. By the time the ‘destruction duo’, working with hammer, crow bar and great gusto had converted the doors into a pile of useable pieces the rest of the group had the bird box sides ready to assemble. Working in pairs the group drilled pilot holes and bolted the box together using long bolts, an impact driver and a handful of t-nuts, NOT as Neil hoped peanuts!
The next day’s job was to take the pile of dismantled doors and sort the pieces into colours and start cladding the bird box wall with them in a decorative manner. Darren proved a dab hand at drilling and screwing the pieces in place, whilst Mark worked with Darian and Ben on the complex task of cutting curved eaves for the bird box roof. Kenny, disguised as a Russian, helped both teams complete their tasks.
By the end of the day the Big abirdabode was standing and of course we had to test how many of us could fit in it!