What is this project?
A large-scale installation of 10,839 bird replicas made from upcycled cloth
What will you do with all the birds?
The result will be a large scale installation of all the crowdsourced birds which will be approximately 4’ x 300’ - the length of a football field!
Why are you doing this?
To give people a chance to learn about the 400 glorious species of birds in their city and find out how to make their windows safer for birds.
How can I participate?
If you would like to make a bird please see the calendar for our upcoming workshops.
Can’t make it to a workshop? Fill out the form below and we will send you a kit.
How do you make the birds?
Using donated upcycled fabrics, stuffing and thread, we handcraft each stuffed bird body to the correct size for each species. Then we hand it over to you with info and photos about the particular bird you will be crafting and let you decorate it to finish the replica.
Do I have to be an artist to make a bird?
Not at all! As long as you are willing to use upcycled materials, look and learn about your bird, and assess your own home windows for bird safety, we invite you to participate in the project regardless of your artistic inclinations.
How do you know how many birds died in 2023?
For the past 20 years, hundreds of volunteers at the Chicago Bird Collision Monitors have been rising at dawn to scour the streets to recover and document birds from the Loop, Northwestern University and other homes, business parks and campuses in the region. Every bird they have found has been identified and preserved in the collections at The Field Museum. HOWEVER, these are only the birds that were found by the Monitors, it is estimated that the real number of bird deaths is 10 times as high. In fact, the Smithsonian Institute estimates that over 1 billion birds die each year from window collisions.
What can I do at home to make my windows safer for birds?
Follow these links for more information on how to keep your windows safe for the birds:
Step 1: If you have heard a bird strike your window, make note of which window it was
Step 2: Walk around your house and see if you can identify any windows that are reflecting nearby trees or shrubs. Flying through the air, the birds often can’t tell the difference between a real tree and one that is reflected in your window.
Step 3: Apply a product such as FeatherFriendlly’s tape, or an Acopian Bird Saver, or even a hand drawn design using soap or paint pen to the outside of your problematic window.
Why is this a sustainable art project?
In an effort to limit the amount of new materials produced for this art project, we rely on used and donated fabric scraps, threads and stuffing. If you make a bird at home, we ask that you try not to buy anything new and instead rely on materials that you already have. If you have nothing, a great resource is Facebook’s Buy Nothing community groups; just ask and you will be surprised how generous people can be with their used fabric scraps!
This project is in partnership with the Chicago Bird Alliance, the Chicago Bird Collision Monitors, The Field Museum, Natural Habitat Evanston, FeatherFriendly, Acopian Bird Savers and a grant from the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University.