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A Guide to Building Universally Accessible Bird Hides

Posted on the 16th August 2013

Dear all
In order to promote birdwatching, BirdLife South Africa realises that facilities such as hides and boardwalks are needed to allow people to get close to birds, thus allowing the viewing of secretive species and providing bird photography opportunities.
It is important to BirdLife South Africa for bird hides to be carefully designed, properly constructed and well maintained. Unfortunately, this is not always the case and some hides have been poorly planned and built, and despite original good intentions often fall into disrepair. Sadly, many hides are also not accessible to everyone, such as to people who are visually impaired, in wheelchairs, or the elderly who have difficulty walking.
In order to assist people with the building of bird hides BirdLife South Africa drafted a guideline document to provide information about the design of universally accessible bird hides. It is our hope that this document will provide a valuable resource to people and organisations that are planning to construct a bird hide or a walkway. With quality birding facilities that are accessible to all people, including those who are mobility impaired, all South Africans will be able to enjoy our country’s wonderful birds.
The FirstRand Foundation and the Rand Merchant Bank Fund is thanked for the financial contributions to this project and also for making BirdLife South Africa aware of the important issue of accessibility.
The document (high and low resolution version) can be downloaded from the Bird South Africa Website: http://www.birdlife.org.za/conservation/iba/657
Bird hide plans can also be downloaded from this link. We hope to add more plans in future as well as photos of interesting hides..
Kind regards,
Ernst Retief
Regional Conservation Manager: Gauteng and Limpopo

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