An artwork to show how birds influence the landscape over time.
Hazeldale Park, Tualatin, Oregon
Rolled and welded steel, automotive paint
Three groups of three or four arching poles, each 18 feet tall
Commissioned by Tualatin Hills Parks and Recreation District
Long before we cultivated the land, birds were at work planting seeds. We think of birds as builders of nests, but they are also builders of habitat—birds eat, digest, and distribute seeds, and many plant species depend on this essential avian assistance. This project shows how birds effect and create the landscape over time.
Installed in Hazeldale Park’s mowed grass landscape, three sets of brightly-colored poles provide spots for birds to perch and leave their seed laden droppings. These seeds take root and create a new population of tree and shrub species. Over time the landscape will diversify and become more complex. The lawn beneath each set of poles is scheduled to receive different kinds of landscape maintenance by the Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation staff. Beneath the first set of poles, mowing continues as usual; this set acts as a control group.
Beneath the second set of poles, shrubs and trees are planted and the area is managed for invasive species; this landscape serves as an example of a nature garden. Beneath the third set of poles, native shrub and tree species are planted; only specific noxious weeds are removed from the area surrounding this third set, and it is otherwise left to develop on its own, highlighting the plant species that birds introduce and creating a forest-like landscape.
In time, where the grass is un-mowed, birds will plant species of shrubs and trees more habitat-friendly than the lawn’s monoculture. The artwork is a living experiment, an opportunity for birds and management to collaborate in building more diverse, bird-friendly landscapes.