Sunday, February 13, 2011

New Trumpeter nest re-design prototype number 4 how To...




So, I had a convo with TRCA, Toronto Region Conservation Authority, about putting out ONE Trumpeter swan nest...The answer was that a wildlife professional had to monitor the nest daily to make sure that no Canada Geese, Mute swans or other waterbirds got to use the nest...(the suggestion was to harass these other birds, which personally I have always known to be illegal in Canada- I don't care how pro you are, harassing a waterbird is wrong...) So anyways, moral dilemma aside, & stuck in a (insert appropriate Star trek episode where they have to deal with a guy who is the king of a space junkyard...who calls all the rules in his little fiefdom)...- stuck there, I came up with a Trumpeter swan Decoy idea, where I would put a Trumpeter Swan decoy with the Trumpeter Swan nest, so geese & smaller swans like Mute swans would shy away, & Trumpeters would be attracted...Here is where I am with my Trumpeter swan decoy design- 48 feet of 1 inch chicken wire ( a whole roll), 2 wire hangers supporting the neck & the base of the neck, (one hanger taken apart, & the base of the neck hanger just squished together...) One roll of Sisal (550 ft. just the thin heavy duty stuff)- the sisal is going to get wrapped all around everything to give it all support...At that point I will have to think about my next step...here we are so far...(Sun Feb 27, 2011)...

TRUMPETER SWAN DECOY PROGRESS REPORT!







Um, Big Note Update about the Trumpeter Swan Nest Design: (February 26, 2011 way after this instructional was written...)- OK, I have been looking at the edge loops on the nest, which I love, but I think I am going to refine my next nest so that the fluffy loops are not there anymore...I am going to chain link the primary circle, & just build the nest from there in the same manner, but no fluffy loops around the edges...I think JayTeeScott of (SimplySuperbSwans in Scotland, see left hand blog links)) is actually right now that I reflect on his comments, I was thinking he was talking about the middle web which is tight enough & will shrink in weather, but I realize the fluffy edge loops might be a hazard...So I am going to start again, prototype design number 5 is next, I will post when I can...!!! Sari


A note about Tempesta before the nest notes: (ooh also, go to groveontario.wordpress.com for more nest notes...)
http://www.torontolife.com/daily/informer/march-of-crimes/2010/05/25/charges-against-michael-bryant-dropped-cyclists’-outrage-not-so-much/ The reason I did this painting "Tempesta" relates to the article linked above...In the painting, there are actually 4 swans, a family, two parents & two children, who Joseph & I made friends with down at Toronto Harbour... While we were feeding this family of 4, a very aggressive seagull started competing with the swans for food...I had seen this before, but only in the context of one male swan & one aggressive seagull...Today it was different...One of the parents went completely medieval on the seagull...The seagull was left stunned & drifting on the water, unable to fly for a long while after...We were all shocked...The swan response was swift & harsh...& then it all came together...In the story of the politician & the cyclist, the most important feature of the story was that the male politician was exiting from dinner WITH HIS WIFE...Because the mad cyclist attacked the politician while he was in an open car with his wife, the politician was very very territorial...He was protecting his wife, like the swans were protecting their family...If you attack someone who is with their family, they will defend, with greater strength & fervour than if they were alone...This was why I did this painting, Tempesta, storm...It explains a very particular situation that Torontonians faced just a short while back...Sari Grove Feb. 25, 2011...p.s. I added another coat of dammar varnish yesterday, so it is still drying...(will be less yellow when drier)...


Ok here is a finished Trumpeter swan nest...Note: the Sisal tightens up significantly in the cold wet weather here, so gaps will be less...much less...safer...Also, you can put this nest into the crotch of a tree or strap it to large flat rocks near a beach for other species of birds & waterbirds...You can also put straw on top if you'd like to make it even more cosy... Barley straw is high in magnesium & will offset mercury in the water supply if it falls into water- so it is good for your pond or lake...You can also dig a crevice into beach sand, place the nest in the groove, & also surround it with rocks to provide a wind protector...You can stake the nest in the ground to prevent it from moving or being taken...Put wild bird seed on the nest to attract waterbirds initially...Sisal is straw from agave plant leaves by the way- biodegradeable & environmentally friendly...







Ok, here is how you begin to make a viable sustainable biodegradable environmentally friendly nest for your Trumpeter Swans...
My hula hoop is 4 feet in diameter...What you are looking at is 3 rolls of 1/4 inch SISAL which costs $3.00 for each 50 ft. roll at Canadian Tire in Toronto...I also cut snippets from one 550 foot thinner grade sisal roll ($4.27 a roll) to attach my ring to the hula hoop for when I weave the centre of the nest...
So, basically, you need one circle of sisal to act as the edge of the nest, then you take the leftover from that roll, plus the other two rolls & let the natural loops form a fluffy loopy edge to your nest, so if the baby cygnets are inside the nest they know where the edge is...Also, the loopy edge looks nice- though not entirely necessary...(but it really makes the whole nest idea look nesty)...If it is winter & you are budgeting, you can opt to leave your edge bare & still have something warmer for your swans to sit upon instead of them sitting upon the ice...


Next I will show you how to weave the middle part with a simple monkey chain knot...(um, hang on while I get my gear)...(give me 15 minutes)...
How to make the monkey chain knot to weave the Trumpeter Swan nest together
So, Here is the beginning...I am just weaving that very simple monkey chain knot, & as I go along, I stick a loop through a chain that I encounter & just continue weaving that very same knot, until I get to the end of a roll of sisal, then wherever I end up, I knot it securely & leave some sisal dangling so it won't come undone...Messy is good...Don't overthink this- in fact, don't think at all...It is very meditative to do this & don't forget to wear gloves! Mine are pink jersey from Canadian Tire garden department & cost around $7.99...
here is the finished trumpeter swan nest...sigh...about 8 hours yesterday & about 2 hours today...Total time =10 hours from start to finish...gee, someone asked me if they could buy one...I've been thinking how much to charge if I did consider that...It's not the materials costs, it's the labour...10 hours of weaving...Hmmm...Well, I suppose it could get to be fewer hours if I knew what I was doing...Honestly, for the amount of work I did...? I think it would be cheaper for somebody to try to make one themselves...I'd have to start at 50 dollars an hour...500 dollars? Hmm...Not even sure I'd want to sell it for that...besides the Trumpeter swans offer me more...What do they offer me? Love, joy, fresh air, friendliness, beauty, water, - the experience of being able to get close to these gentle giants is worth much much more than any money...Also, I have noticed, that me & the Trumpeters, are the same...We walk the same walk, we are very big, we are always being looked at, we are strong, we can defend ourselves, we are part of a large family, we live in cold weather, we have very big feet, we are tall, we are pretty, we are trying to survive like the rest of us, we need a large natural habitat to nest & rest in, people think we are fine but we still need help, did I mention we walk the same? 
Ok, here is where I am after about 3 hours...I purchased my sisal rolls at around 3:00 pm this Sunday, walked home, had a drink, & got to work...It is now around 6:40 pm, but I have been taking drink breaks & posting this info online as I go along- so it will be about 2-3 hours of work to get to this stage...
I have used for the middle part of the nest, so far, 5 rolls of 50 foot Sisal (1/4 inch thickness at $3.00 a roll)...I also used 3 rolls of this stuff for the edge of the nest & the outer circle ring at the beginning...So total so far I have used 8 rolls of 50 ft. sisal costing $3.00 each roll for grand total of $24.00 spent so far...(My hula hoop by the way is 43 inches diameter, made for me to size by a nice lady who makes hula hoops found on ebay.ca)...(The bigger the hula hoop the easier it is to hula)...
So , here I am at 10:40 pm on Sunday night...I took a short break for dinner Joseph brought me home from Jack Astor's near to Yonge & Bloor...So it feels like 7 hours & 45 minutes since I bought my supplies at 3 this afternoon...I've been watching & listening to the Grammy awards, so it hasn't been painful...You can see what I have done here is weave in the thinner Sisal cord thru the weave of the thicker Sisal...This cleans the whole things up, filling in gaps nicely, & looks pretty...Also, the thinner Sisal is easier on the hands, though I decided to keep the gloves on...I am going to finish the whole roll of cord after this break, only because I might as well...

http://www.fastcodesign.com/1663230/talents-not-enough-how-tyler-hays-created-an-indie-furniture-empire Here's an afterthought about someone in the design field, which is sort of what my nest is moving into... Ideas that latched onto me from this interview include the notion that something good may take two or three years to take off & that for an artist in a lower rent city the art can get better because studio space is affordable...(mainly that low expenses gives an artist greater freedom...)
http://dailycartoonist.com/index.php/2011/02/16/video-tony-cochran-featured-on-writers-talk/ Another interview, this one with a cartoonist...Salient point, how the budding germ sprung from the rigidity of the nun's teachings caused the young boy to find ways to inject humour into his classmates' lives...Which apparently created the impetus to continue to generate humour for those caught in rigid lives, as a career...(but interesting to see that this person changed motivations each time he changed his surroundings... Which says to me that in order to change your interior you have to change your exterior...)

http://howtomakeacharpoy.blogspot.com/ How to make a charpoy...( a woven bed of sorts- I was using this also for ideas on how to make different kinds of shelters for waterbirds...not sure where this is going)...

http://www.designspongeonline.com/2011/02/stockholm-design-fair-chandelier-installation.html Totally awesome design idea: chandeliers restored with mop heads!!!

http://gigirosenberg.com/ How to write grants, see the book!...

My helper friend...(Also is my husband, artist Joseph Grove)
http://www.etsy.com/listing/55312962/organic-sisal-bird-house-1 After I made my Trumpeter swan nest, I searched online for someone else who had tried to do the same thing...Knotting with your hands...As it turns out I couldn't find anything...I did find this person on Etsy who makes these great crocheted Sisal bird houses though for only $15 dollars each!

8 comments:

Joe said...

Your devotion to the trumpeters comfort is admirable, however it could get it's foot caught in the base of the nest. I would suggest you scatter a load of loose straw over the top of it and allow the trumpeters to make the nest themselves. I would imagine they would only make a proper nest at nesting time.If this is purely an exercise in helping them keep warm, scattering a layer of straw in the area they normally sit should be more than sufficient.

grovecanada said...

The Sisal shrinks up tighter when it is exposed to the outdoor humidity...Also, Trumpeters have very very large feet- the finished nest has small enough gaps that it is safe- I accounted for that...Also, the entire thing punches down into the ground when outside, it does not sit on top of the ground...The problem with loose straw in lakeshore areas is that there is concern from the water people of the straw getting into the water...Loose straw is fine for private property, but where these Trumpeters are living is not private property...Trumpeters make a nest & will then use that same nest for many years to come...However these released into the wild swans have not been making their own nests- which is when people can step in to help...A nest is not just a place to keep warm, however, even with that goal in mind, loose straw would scatter in our winds...I am not sure where you are writing from, but our climate here is temperatures at minus 15 degrees Celsius some days in winter, with accompanying iced over lake & winds...Quite harsh...

Joe said...

Hi, I'm writing from Northern Scotland where our winter temperatures this year have been -6c to -12c for about 6 weeks. We have Mute Swans and they tend to use the same nest site year after year too. They choose their own nest site which should be safe from predators, and make it from twigs, reeds, and grasses. This stuff is usually floating around on the edge and the Swans use it. The nest should also be high enough to avoid flooding at any time.

grovecanada said...

Hi... Are you "JayTeeScott" ? Of the most wonderful blog at http://simplysuperbswans.blogspot.com/ ? I was confused because your comment was signed Joe...
Thank you for all your help by the way...It is so important for me to talk to experts...
Mute Swans have been very successful on this planet, I think in no small part due to the Royal Family in England officially protecting them & also because of people like you...
Trumpeter swans on the other hand have had a hard time of it, & were almost extinct in Ontario where I live just a short decade ago...
Those that are here now are the result of deliberate human intervention, breedings, incubating, raising, then release into the wild in 2007...There are now 1200 Trumpeter Swans in Ontario, from none...
These swans are semi-wild-semi-domestic...They are not migrating south, which was the old pattern when it got too cold here... Possibly because they just don't know the route, or because this is their home...In fact, most have not even left their drop off site from release...
They are also not building their own nests... Possibly because they were raised by humans... Perhaps they have evolved to a different sort of nesting here, which I have seen involves seeking places where large rocks shelter them from wind...
The co-operators, people who helped to bring the species back, are also feeding them from November to April- winter, albeit a cheap low grade gmo corn feed that has dubious nutritional content (which I am trying to get them to upgrade to something with more nutrients like wild bird seed, or other foods too...)
Normally, waterbirds should be left alone to do their own thing & feed themselves...Which is correct...Except that the humans here have devastated the natural habitat, not to mention those swans that are migrating south are getting shot since the American laws concerning hunting of swans are lax...
Sisal by the way is in fact straw...It is just a little more in a durable form...
Rather than scattering straw along our shores for the 1200, I was trying to come up with a prototype nest that would be acceptable both to humans & to swans, without getting into trouble with the water quality sector for causing straw to enter into our filtration plant...(though straw is actually good for water due to its magnesium content being able to offset mercury)...
As a note, these woven nests could also be placed in the crotch of trees for bald eagles or other earth birds...
Again, of course it is better for birds to build their own nests... But if they are not doing so, we can help...
My other issue is with territory,,,By getting approval to put out pre-made nests, it is saying to the public that this territory is for a bird...Habitat is getting sparse & I think claiming some of it for the birds will help them to not get shooed away by dogs or humans...

Simplysuperbswans.blogspot.com said...

Hi Grovecanada, Yes I am Jayteescot of simplysuperbswans.Blogspot.com website. Sounds to me like you have your trumpeter swans situation well under control, and doing an excellent job in conservation and re-introduction. The world needs people like you and more power to you ! I can see the lack of evolution regarding the trumpeters ability at nest building etc. The use of large rocks for shelter is understandable considering the wind chill factor. Our mute Swans also like sheltered quiet places to nest too. Over here it's against the law to interfere with swans nesting in any way, I think the reason is that they learn from experience as each year goes by. For instance, if the nest gets flooded one year they will build it higher the following year.
Your trumpeter situation is unique in the sense that they have been brought back from near extinction locally. I am no expert, except in the habits of our own resident Swan family and of course what I learn from avian advisers etc.
I wish you every success with your efforts, well done ! Joe

grovecanada said...

Dear JayTee... I hit a bump in the road...
The Toronto Region Conservation Authority who owns much green space here, said the nesting platforms were a good idea...So, a positive move forward to getting approvals... But they are concerned that other waterbirds will use the nests...I didn't think this was a problem...The person mentioned Canada Geese & other waterbirds...When I went & did a Google search of what my contact had been doing in the field, I discovered that last year he supervised the "oiling" of Canada Goose & Mute Swan eggs...LIke 9 thousand just of the goose eggs...Not sure how many Mute Swan eggs...
"Oiling" eggs involves spraying on something like corn oil on the eggs in the nest, then the egg can't breathe & suffocates...The waterbird will still sit on them but they don't hatch...Later someone comes to take away the eggs...If the eggs are not removed the mother will sit on them for weeks, not even feeding herself...It can cause suffering...Either way, I find this information most depressing, distressing...
Apparently people here think there are too many Canada Geese & too many Mute Swans...They don't like the poo...I think it is more that human encroachment on their habitat has made their presence more visible...At any rate, I am so depressed that the person at the Conservation Authority here has been spending his time killing bird eggs- I just have sort of lost my naive optimistic energy...Oh, & they also were discussing the oiling of cormorant eggs, which I know cormorants were actually endangered in California only 10 years ago...I just don't get it...
Anyways...The Conservation Authority wants to make certain no other waterbird besides the Trumpeter use the nests...They suggested that a "wildlife professional" visit the nests daily & scare off other waterbirds if they are found nesting on the nests...Honestly, tampering with eggs & harassing birds used to be illegal here...Actually it still is, unless one is a wildlife professional...I'm not sure whose side I am on anymore...
Even the Trumpeter Swan society people have hunters on their board...It is so confusing...ethically...
Thanks for your words of encouragement...
Someone told me I could get a fine for feeding a Canada goose...But sometimes the Trumpeters won't eat if the smaller birds are hungry...In fact, most of the time...
I told this to the Conservation person, but have not received another response as of yet...
It seems so complicated just trying to do good...
I am up for a grant of 5K on refresheverything.ca/grovecanada , but I realise I don't want to win it, because I cannot get the proper permissions to put out the nests...It wouldn't be fair to take the grant money & not be able to do what I said I would do...
Again, thanks for being there...Your photographs & what you have done are absolutely amazing... Amazing...
I hope that bloke who pushed you off the wall into the water gets punished severely...That is a horrible terrible thing he did...He should go to jail for that... Unforgiveable...

Joe said...

Sorry to hear about your setback and reality check - on the perils of getting involved with nature and wildlife ! I understand your feelings only too well and the ethical aspects of killing one species to protect another etc. Some of our local councils here have tried oiling seagulls eggs because of their proliferation in towns and the nuisance value to people.
We have about 25,000 pairs of Mute swans in the UK and 60 million people - personally I'd like to see those numbers reversed !
I cross swords with people every day who feed the seagulls beside the swans and ducks, and this means when the ducks show up in the spring with ducklings, the seagulls eat the ducklings ! Trying to explain to people that seagulls are meat eating predators that will take anything that floats is not easy !
I can understand the arguments about Mute swans versus Trumpeters since Mute swans are much more aggressive and are an alien species to your part of the world -and threaten the future of the trumpeters. It is a sad fact that when introducing any alien species into a new environment the consequences can be devastating for the indigenous species. For instance our native red squirrel is being wiped out by the American grey squirrel, and on our small river we have a current problem with Mink, which will kill many birds and eat eggs and destroy nests.
You have come up against the age old question of the right to life for all living things, which takes you into buddhism and ethical and religious realms.
I think under the circumstances you may have to go along with the idea of some "expert" preventing other birds from using the nests if you want to pursue your worthy idea.
The famous naturalist Peter Scott the founder of slimbridge wildlfowl sanctuary. He Used to be a hunter Like myself, and shoot geese until His Damascus moment.
Mine was about 25 years ago, It seems wisdom does come with age in the main. As for the Moron who pushed me into the river, we have to rely on the outcome of the court case mid - March.

grovecanada said...

Aw Joe, I cannot thank you enough for your comment... This gives me some direction... Thank you...I was starting to think that the Conservation people were evil...Ok, I can start again with my efforts... With a more balanced intellectual perspective... Blessings...Sari