Sculpture / Chimney Swift Habitat
Permanent installation at the Stevens Point Sculpture Park

    
While exploring human interaction with wilderness and wildlife, my work often aims to speak the language of the natural world. I attempt this by using found materials or imitating visual cues from the landscape. With this piece, I take another step in that direction by seeking not only to speak the language, but to physically interact with the natural world by creating a functioning habitat for the Chimney Swift.

    


    In 2012, the Stevens Point Sculpture Park, in partnership with the Aldo Leopold Audubon Society, gave me the opportunity to build Birdcraft. The intention was to explore the aesthetic possibilities of constructed Chimney Swift habitats and to raise awareness about the bird.

    The Chimney Swift is a bird that commonly nests in chimneys. Its population has been in decline, most likely, due to a loss of habitat as chimneys are being capped or torn down. To remedy this, bird lovers are constructing towers to replace the loss of nesting habitat.

    The sculptural shell of Birdcraft conceals a 12 foot tall 16 by 16 inch nesting/roosting chamber.  The Chimney Swift builds its nest on vertical surfaces. The nest is a half saucer of woven small twigs held together with saliva. The walls of the nesting/roosting chamber are heavily textured, allowing the Chimney Swift to build nests inside. The air space between the shell and chamber keeps the habitat at an even temperature. At the top is a collar which provides shade from the hot afternoon sun. At the bottom is a removable mesh screen that allows air flow, annual cleaning, and the potential for viewing nesting or roosting Chimney Swifts.