Today, approximately 55% of the world’s population lives in urban areas, according to the UN. As a result, animals are forced to find ways to share these tight urban spaces with us humans, and it isn’t always straightforward. Birds are no exception. The creative designs could be key to solving a decline in urban bird populations.
TURKISH COMPANY HITIT TERRA MANUFACTURE ROOF TILES THAT DOUBLE AS BIRD SHELTERS
It all began when the Dutch product design agency Klaas Kuiken came up with the idea to design a roof tile that doubles as a bird house. The idea was pounced upon by Hitit Terra, a Turkish terracotta manufacturer based in the town of Çorum, which then started producing the bird nest tiles for the local communities.
Mahmoud Basic, the regional director for Turkish National Parks, told a local news website that the tiles were to be produced and distributed to the people free of charge.
The Hitit Terra founders, Cengiz Başaranhıncal and Ali Arslan, said that the idea to produce bird nest tiles came after they saw the design on social media. Ali explained that the price of the tile online came out at around $70* which, in his opinion, was too high and they started making their own product for a local market.
*The Dutch tiles they are referring to are in fact more than twice that price, so wherever they saw them for $70 was a bargain.
Hitit Terra’s bird nest tiles were tested by Afyon Nature Conservation and the 5th Regional Directorate of National Parks and re-designed according to the demand. They now produce 5 different tile designs that accommodate different bird species.
Ali Arslan, one of the company partners, said they started producing roof tiles with bird nests two years ago. They have sent 3 thousand products to various municipalities and institutions so far.
Explaining that they redesigned the birdhouse tile on the internet in a different way, Arslan said, “It was sold on the Internet for around $ 70 each. We thought it was a disadvantage to launch a product related to nature with such a high price. We get the point. Those who want, instead of bringing Turkey from abroad, we provide access to these products from Corum.”
“Demand is increasing as it is a new product” Expressing that the interest in bird nest tiles is increasing day by day, Arslan stated that until today, the 5th Regional Directorate of Afyon Nature Conservation and National Parks, municipalities of various provinces, companies and citizens who want to put them on the roof of their homes have produced 3 thousand pieces.
Stating that they received very good comments, especially on social media, Arslan said: “Especially in many buildings built during the Ottoman period, we see that there are such structures for the eating, drinking and sheltering needs of birds. We also wanted to keep the tradition of our ancestors alive and contribute to the animals we share our world with. We received very good reactions from all segments after production. Congratulations from many places, especially organisations and municipalities, and thanks on social media. This happiness leads us to make more quality and different products. The demands are increasing gradually as it is a new product.
A PRODUCT THAT CONTRIBUTES TO THE INCREASE OF THE BIRD POPULATION IN CITIES AND VILLAGES
In consultation with Vogelbescherming Nederland (Dutch organisation concerning the protection of birds), Klaas Kuiken originally developed “Vogelhuisjesdakpan” (the Birdhouse roof tile); the merge of a basic terracotta roof tile with the archetypal shape of a house. The result is a remarkable product that not only looks good, but also contributes to the increase of the bird population in cities and villages.
Inside the Birdhouse, underneath the roof tile, a carefully designed nesting basket made of wood and bird screen is attached. This nesting basket ensures good ventilation, prevents the birds from moving to other places underneath your roof and makes it really easy to clean the nest after a breeding period.
By installing one or more of these Birdhouse roof tiles, you ensure that birds are provided with a safe place to stay and raise their chicks. Instead of crawling under the roof tiles to build a nest, the birds can now linger in their own cosy cottage.
Bird houses are rooted in Turkish history. Back in the times of the Ottoman Empire, people would build elaborate architectural miniature palaces for the birds. Not only did they give animals shelter, they were also believed to grant good deeds to whoever built them.
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