The vast expanse of some of the world’s natural parks can make it difficult for visitors to get a closer look at the birds and animals that call it their home. With so many different species of birds using these parks as their nesting sites, or as a stopping point on their migratory routes, there are quite literally thousands of birds for avid bird-watchers to enjoy spotting, if only they had an advantageous lookout point.

Bird observatories need not be grand or elegant, in fact the more inconspicuous they are the better. Some of the world’s best bird watching can be done in little more than a converted barn or adapted shelter that blends in with its surrounding, and allows nature lovers to get up close and personal with the feathered fauna that frequents the area.

East Point Park Bird Sanctuary

Toronto-based firm PLANT Architect created a bird sanctuary located in East Point Park. The architects designed the ‘Bird Blind’ pavilions with the idea of enhancing the local bird watching experience. The pavilions are constructed of folded weathered steel and intricate laser-cut patterns that look to simulate the look of sunlight filtering through tree branches.

Patterns cut into the sheet metal mimic bird flocks. Image source

The patterns on the side sheet mimic bird flocks, and they feature the names of various bird species that frequent the migratory flyover/stopover spot. Precast and cast-in-place concrete, galvanized grating and weathered steel accentuate the rough natural qualities of the site and ensure durability and minimal environmental impact of the structures on their surroundings.

Intricate laser-cut patterns that look to simulate the look of sunlight filtering through tree branches. Image source

The Bird Blind pavilions are located on a network of rehabilitated trails, and they act as a shelter, gathering space, and vantage point visitors to enjoy the views of nearby ponds as well as Lake Ontario.

The Jerusalem Bird Observatory

Designed by Weinstein Vaadia Architects in Tel Aviv, the Jerusalem Bird Observatory was constructed using natural materials. Its organic layout was important to the architect’s vision of creating a structure that maintains an integrated relationship with its environment and is evocative of the birds’ natural habitat, the trees. The structure also feature a grass-covered roof, demonstrating its unique integration into the environment.

The Jerusalem Bird observatory is first project in Israel to use undeveloped land to house this kind of structure. Image source

The first project in Israel to use undeveloped land to house this kind of sanctuary, the Jerusalem Bird Observatory incorporated an environmental education facility in the heart of the city. The observatory is situated in a small plot between Knesset and the Supreme Court building; one of the few traditional bird-watching areas in Jerusalem that has not been impacted by development.

The Jerusalem Bird Observatory is one of the few structure unaffected by development. Image source

Plans for a second stage of construction in development include providing more public spaces and allowing greater access to the observatory’s facilities. These would include a study room for lectures and films, and a gallery for nature-oriented exhibitions.

Riverside Park by Topiaris Landscape Architecture

The Lisbon-based firm Topiaris Landscape Architecture created an extended 700-metre timber walkway through Riverside pare’s scrubland, connecting a new Portuguese public park with a bird observatory.

The designers recreates the shipping dockyard aesthetic in their bird hide, incorporating old wooden pallets to offer sheltered views out towards the rare wading birds that are native to the area.

The architects were careful to preserve the original foliage and wildflowers surrounding this bird observatory in Riverside Park. Image source

The architecture firm were careful to preserve the original foliage and wildflowers throughout the park, creating pocket of shrubbery between timber pegs. The bird hide is connected to the park via the timber walkway which is suspended over a series of twisting streams.

Pape Bird Observation Tower

Buildner, in collaboration with “PASAULES DABAS FONDS” THE OFFICIAL WWF ASSOCIATE PARTNER IN LATVIA, are calling for submissions for the Pape Bird Observation Tower architecture competition. The first in a series of competitions based in Latvia’s Pape Nature Park,the Pape Bird Observation Tower is looking for iconic designs for a replacement for the park’s previous observation tower that burned down when it was struck by lightning.

Pape Nature Park plays a vital role in protecting many different species of plants, birds and animals, and is most known for its role reintroducing wild horses, auroxen, and bison into the region. The park is looking for designs for an iconic tower that can help to gently influence the delicate ecosystem surrounding it.

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