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

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

This image has been archived or removed.

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.

This image has been archived or removed.

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.

Recent Stories

Demolition Begins at Fire-Stricken Dim Sum Palace Building in Chinatown

Demolition started this week at 6 Chatham Square, which, until this month, housed neighborhood favorite Dim Sum Palace. Early morning May 1, a fire in the kitchen spread throughout the building, triggering a five-alarm response from the fire department. All told, five firefighters were injured battling the inferno over several hours. And according to Red […]

Eldridge Street Development Sells for $19.24M

A major real estate deal to report on Eldridge Street. It took three years, but the eight-story mixed-use building at 165 Eldridge traded last week for $19.25 million. Just under the initial 2019 asking price of $21 million. Buyer of record is Meng Lee and Karim Elsayyad of FREO Management. The transaction is not yet […]

The ‘Barrier Reefs’ Coming to Clinton Street Bike Lane

The Department of Transportation has chosen a winner to decorate the traffic barrier protecting the Clinton Street bike line. The city agency awarded artist Alison Cynamon as part of the ongoing Barrier Beautification mural project. The concrete slab runs from Delancey Street to South Street; an 840-foot stretch with roughly 1,980 square-feet of canvas to […]

Redlining the LES: How Discriminatory Lending Policies Solidified Pre-Existing Inequalities

The following was written by Anna Sargeantson. All photos courtesy of Anna Sargeantson, except where otherwise noted. Home to dimly lit restaurants and bars frequented by NYU students and young professionals, the Lower East Side remains in many ways the epitome of New York City’s youthful heart. Under the surface, though, the neighborhood has historically […]

Ed Higgins Gets ‘Mail Art’ Retrospective at Van Der Plas Gallery on Orchard Street

Fresh off featuring his art in Ludlow Coffee Supply, the Van Der Plas Gallery of Orchard Street is now dedicating a full artist retrospective to the late Ed Higgins. Higgins, known as a pillar of the “Rivington School” movement in the 1980s Lower East Side, and for his unique “Mail Art,” died last December at […]