Wednesday, August 5, 2015

From battery covers to bird houses

This nesting box was once a Chevrolet Volt battery. It was designed especially for the endangered scaly-sided merganser in China. A few months after it was installed, a merganser hen and her eleven chicks moved in.

General Motors has made a lot of these, and they have lasted some very harsh winters and many squirrel attacks. The old batteries came from prototype cars, were damaged in assembly, or were used during training exercises. Instead of sending them out to a landfill, GM reuses them to provide shelter for bats, ducks, and birds.

The project was inspired by GM global waste reduction manager John Bradburn's personal experiences with nature. John, who grew up building nest boxes in his youth, said: "Once I saw the Chevy Volt battery cover in our plant, I knew it would make a good nest box. To test the idea five years ago, I built a prototype and within two weeks, I had a hen hooded merganser nesting in it."

I don't think there's an old battery cover lying around here somewhere, but I hope I can create something really nice for the chirping dozen of sparrows that always come around my front yard to hang out, feed and play.

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