Keep out the Birds: Observatory Roof Motor Housing

I have had an ongoing problem with birds nesting in my observatory roof housing. It usually happens in the Spring and generally there are baby birds, so I let the babies grow up and then clean it out. This year I waited until a couple of weeks ago to clear it out. Then, when I am up by the observatory yesterday, I hear birds in the housing! That early move-in was the last straw. So now I believe there will be no more birds.

Here is a wide view of the Observatory. You can see the motor housing just under the upper roof.

In this view of the Observatory you can see the motor housing on the wall below the upper roof.

The problem is that there are two openings in the motor housing, allowing the birds to get it. I really don’t blame them as it is a very secure location for a nest. This picture shows the opening on the top which is the main entry point the blackbirds that were hanging out there yesterday.

The top of the observatory motor housing allows birds to enter and nest.

So, what is the solution? I carefully measured the dimensions of the opening. I made a paper model of a covering the the opening that would allow the chains to move freely but not have any opening large enough for a bird (I hope). I then cut that shape out of some 1/8 inch rubber sheeting.

Carefully cut rubber sheeting to cover the opening.

Here is the rubber sheeting over the opening. I believe the chain can move freely, although I have not tested it. It is easy enough to remove if needed.

The rubber sheeting covers the opening while still allowing the roof to operate.

I then took several pieces of wood and a large rubber strap to secure it in place. A little make-shift, but I believe it is effective.

The final fix in place with some wood to hold down the sheeting and a strap to keep it in place.

The rubber strap also holds a piece of wood over the hole on the bottom of the motor housing. All in all, it looks fairly neat from the outside.

The hole on the bottom of the housing is also now covered.

I hope I have solved the bird problem for the long-term. I expect the birds to keep trying, so we will see if my solution works. I also need to see how well it stands up to the Sun and the weather. It shouldn’t get a lot of direct Sun as it is on the north side of the building. But it will get rain and will get heat.

UPDATE: The damn birds managed to push the wood holding one side away so they could get in again. I added a second rubber strap and tightened the first.

I added another strap. I hope this keeps them out.

The pictures for this post were taken with my Pixel phone camera and processed with the new Adobe Lightroom CC. All but the wide picture were edited on my iPad. A first for mobile photo processing.