Social Issues
Beautifying Cities, Protecting Birds: Artist Turns Recycled Materials Into Colourful Birdhouses
November 6, 2012
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You could say this idea kills a few birds with one stone... But it's really doing the opposite.

Denmark-based artist Thomas Winter, aka Dambo, is the mind behind the 'Happy City Birds' project, which helps reduce waste, beautifies city buildings, and protects birds by offering them safe places to roost.

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Dambo kicked off the project by using free and recycled materials to build 250 birdhouses. The only part of the construction process he couldn't get for free was the nails, which ended up costing him about $40.

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Once he'd put together the birdhouses, he painted them bright colours and placed them on buildings, poles, lampposts and rooftops in four cities across Denmark: 64 in Aarhus, 52 in Odense, 54 in Copenhagen and 80 in Kolding.

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When he had completed the birdhouses, Dambo found himself with 1,000 triangles of leftover wood. Rather than throw them away, he added eyes and beaks to make them look like birds, then hung them on the streets to advertise the project.

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One of the inspirations for Dambo's project is the birds themselves.

"Birds are actually great at recycling and we need to appreciate this," he says. "They eat old food, fruits, berries, and nuts lying about. In that way, they help to clean and distribute seeds around our cities, so new plants can grow."

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Since that first phase of the project, Dambo has celebrated the milestone of over 1000 birdhouses built.

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In July, he took his idea to the Roskilde Festival, where he got some help building a bunch more birdhouses, and offered people the opportunity to take one home to their own city. Here's a bunch of his creations laid out at the Festival.

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And here's a video of Dambo talking about the project at Roskilde. He gets into his desire to bring more nature into cities, and how his birdhouse project - unlike a lot of the street art he's done in the past - has not met with the same resistance from authorities.

After all, who doesn't like birds?

Related:

This Week In: Birds

UPDATE: The Aflockalypse?

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