The Bird Library: A Library Built Especially for Our Fine Feathered Friends

“The two things I love most are nov­els and birds,” said Jonathan Franzen in a Guardian pro­file not long ago. “They’re both in trou­ble, and I want to advo­cate for both of them.” Chances are that even that famous­ly inter­net-averse nov­el­ist-turned-bird­watch­er would enjoy the online attrac­tion called The Bird Library, “where the need to feed meets the need to read.” Its live Youtube stream shows the goings-on of a tiny library built espe­cial­ly for our feath­ered friends. “Perched in a back­yard in the city of Char­lottesville,” writes Atlas Obscu­ra’s Claire Voon, “it is the pas­sion project of librar­i­an Rebec­ca Flow­ers and wood­work­er Kevin Cwali­na, who brought togeth­er their skills and inter­ests to show­case the lives of their back­yard birds.”

Recent vis­i­tors, Voon adds, “have includ­ed a strik­ing rose-breast­ed gros­beak, a car­di­nal that looks like it’s vap­ing, and a trio of mourn­ing doves seem­ing­ly caught in a seri­ous meet­ing.” The Bird Library’s web site offers an archive of images cap­tur­ing the insti­tu­tion’s wee reg­u­lars, all accom­pa­nied by enliven­ing cap­tions. (“Why did the bird go to the library?” “He was look­ing for book­worms.”)

Just as year-round bird­watch­ing brings plea­sures dis­tinct from more casu­al ver­sions of the pur­suit, year-round view­ing of The Bird Library makes for a deep­er appre­ci­a­tion not just of the vari­ety of species rep­re­sent­ed among its patrons — the cre­ators have count­ed 20 so far — but for the sea­son­al changes in the space’s decor, espe­cial­ly around Christ­mas­time.

As long­time view­ers know, this isn’t the orig­i­nal Bird Library. “In late 2018 we demol­ished the old Bird Library and start­ed design and devel­op­ment of a new and improved Bird Library 2.0! Com­plete with a large con­crete base for increased capac­i­ty and a big­ger cir­cu­la­tion desk capa­ble of feed­ing all our guests all day long.” Just as libraries for humans need occa­sion­al ren­o­va­tion, so, it seems, do libraries for birds — a con­cept that could soon expand out­side Vir­ginia. “Cwali­na hopes to even­tu­al­ly pub­lish an open-access plan for a sim­i­lar bird library, so that oth­er bird­ers can build their own ver­sions,” reports Voon. And a bird-lov­ing 21st-cen­tu­ry Andrew Carnegie steps for­ward to ensure their archi­tec­tur­al respectabil­i­ty, might we sug­gest going with mod­ernism?

via Atlas Obscu­ra

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Mod­ernist Bird­hous­es Inspired by Bauhaus, Frank Lloyd Wright and Joseph Eich­ler

Free Enter­tain­ment for Cats and Dogs: Videos of Birds, Squir­rels & Oth­er Thrills

Down­load 435 High Res­o­lu­tion Images from John J. Audubon’s The Birds of Amer­i­ca

Explore an Inter­ac­tive Ver­sion of The Wall of Birds, a 2,500 Square-Foot Mur­al That Doc­u­ments the Evo­lu­tion of Birds Over 375 Mil­lion Years

RIP Todd Bol, Founder of the Lit­tle Free Library Move­ment: He Leaves Behind 75,000 Small Libraries That Pro­mote Read­ing World­wide

McDonald’s Opens a Tiny Restau­rant — and It’s Only for Bees

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall, on Face­book, or on Insta­gram.

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