We were in Rawang on the morning of 9th September, 2008 . We came to view the shophouse meant for conversion to a birdhouse. Jordie had been here sometime in late August just to give it a once-over from the outside.
He didn’t try to hide his excitement when we arrived. He was thrilled in fact. It was mainly because he managed to fulfil the first part of his dream of having a direct interest in a birdhouse.
Jordie’s involvement are on two counts. One, it is on a JV basis so that he has a share in its running and the returns accruing while the other is in the conversion job (being a contractor that he is). Jordie has to turn a bare and neglected three storey shoplot into a functioning and money-making structure.
When we went in it was not as bad as we had expected. Apparently the previous owner or tenant was a contractor of some sort as the remnants of rubbish comprised PVC materials, pipes and knick-knacks normally associated with plumbing works.
He (or his workers) did Jordie a favour by stripping off all of the wirings (copper wires fetch good money) and left the rubber strips strewn all over. It is good for Jordie as his workers need not do the stripping. He is also assured the wiring forthwith for the building would be all new and according to his fancy.
The location is perfect. It is one of a row of about 50 empty shoplots facing 4 big fish ponds and ex-mining land down below across the road. The row of shoplots is on higher ground so that one sees all the four ponds from the road (in the water then was a flock of what looked like migratory birds frolicking in the sun.)
An external water source is an added bonus (good for a birdhouse) and the higher ground makes for good feng shui, that’s what I gather later.
Cleaning work gets going by the end of the week. The water and electricity connection will follow and the converted shoplot option is off the ground!
Jordie had decidedly made certain observations and weighed his options. There is the small 2’x 4’ window-like opening at the wall at the top of the landing. In practically all houses it would remain closed as it is too high up to bother (even for would-be burglars) We had the initial tendency to make minimal changes to whatever is already there. We thought this opening could be the dog-house entrance for the birds. Jordie decided against this. The choice has to be based on some idiosyncracies favouring the swiftlets and not just convenience to the investors.
The direction of the dog-house entrance merits careful thought. This consideration is fundamental and may even be fatal if wrongly decided.
It has to do with the way the birds fly in. It can either be clockwise or anti-clockwise. For those flying clockwise the entrance should face 3 o’clock and it should face 9 o’clock for the reverse. If it is wrongly placed the birds might have to swoop in but make a U-turn to enter. This is the opinion of those long in the business which should not be taken lightly.
From their observations once the birds fly clockwise they would continue to do so in that manner. It is also true of the opposite. It can be in the same area and of a similar kind of specie and they will maintain their flying direction once established. It is therefore of utmost importance to determine the flying pattern during the initial Duress Test (From our experience on the road it is not easy to make a U-turn what more when in full flight)
In Jordie’s case it may even be a double whammy. There are already two or maybe three other birdhouses on the same row. The inconvenience of entering may prompt these birds to the other birdhouses. Jordie decided the dog-house should be an external one on the roof top and the entrance direction strategically placed.
There is ample water source provided by the fish ponds across the road. Jordie thought he may have to reconsider an earlier decision concerning water in the roving area at the top floor.
Some birdhouses have them externally in the open on the roof top while some others don’t have one at all.
A water feature is considered necessary. It may be of any dimension, say, 20’x30’ on the roof top and much smaller in the roving area. It provides a cooling-effect area and a playing area. The birds would fly low, for the quickie ‘cool dip and a sip’ and playfully fly around before proceeding into the nesting area in the lower floors below.
Jordie expects no change for the location of his water feature. Being placed inside the roving area is a better option as once inside and ‘loving it’ the birds will stay inside.The next best thing to do after that is not to fly out but to go down to the nesting area. They would then happily do what they are meant to do, to nest and to make nests and make more nests.
For my easier reference I have tagged subsequent postings according to segments under different categories. They go in series (of 1,2,3…) to easily compartmentalize and chart the progress.
1.Converted Shophouse – Segment A
2.By the Sea – Segment B
3.Rural Setting/Inland Areas – Segment C
4.Vicinity of Caves – Segment D