When Those Feral Pigeons You See in the Park Are Actually Sculptures

Posted on: September 15th, 2014 at 6:00 am by

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Fake pigeons, Photo: @sassafraslowrey

As city denizens, we’re pretty much hard-wired to hate ferral pigeons. Perptually in the way, shitting on shoulders, and nesting in the AC units. A nuisance. Some might say they’re rats with wings and shouldn’t be encouraged (i.e. fed). But tell that to Brooklyn resident Tina Trachtenburg – also known as the “Mother Pigeon.”

The artist-activist is in love with pigeons and has hand-crafted over a hundred stuffed ones. Bolstered by this army of pseudo-taxidermied creatures, Trachtenburg organizes so-called “flashflocks” around town to celebrate the avians. Each time she organizes the fake flock, it becomes an automatic art installation.

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Tina Trachtenburg

Trachtenberg admittedly shakes her head at the faux pax feeding mentality by “[carrying] a lunch sack of bird seed every day to feed the pigeons as I go about my day.”

I create my pigeons primarily of acrylic felt. I like to make them resemble the pigeons I see throughout various locations in the city. They may be dark, charcoal gray, black, or light gray. My favorite is the common Blue Bar Pigeon who has a light gray to black face and two bars at the base of their wings. I use recycled clothing for body stuffing. I stuff the heads with polyester fiberfill. For the feet, I use wire that is twisted to form the foot of a pigeon, wrapped in pink, red or black yarn. I use black plastic coating to make the toenails. The eyes are glued on. The beaks are backed with interfacing.

I machine sew about 80% of the bodies, then hand sew the rest. What cannot be sewn is adhered with a fabric glue stick.

The simple truth that these feral pigeons are dumbfounded during these installations is a testament to the quality of the sculptures.

Teachtenberg’s next flashflock is in Washington Square Park on October 11, 7pm.

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