Tropical Birds Art Project in NYC Highlights Impact of Climate Change

Tropical Birds-Tatiana Arocha-Colombian Birds-Brooklyn Navy Yard-Queens Botanical Garden-NYC-001Photo via Tropical Birds

In December 2015, the tropical Painted Bunting bird appeared in Prospect Park to much media frenzy – thanks to its colorful rainbow-like feathers and the fact that it was far off course from its expected migration. Usually birds like the painted bunting go as far north as Florida (or to Mexico and the Caribbean) but sometimes they will venture far afield. According to the Audubon Society, “it’s not uncommon for this migrating species (and migrating birds in general) to get a little off-course,” though they admit we may see more of this phenomenon, known as vagrancy, due to climate change.

The appearance of the painted bunting inspired New York City-based, Colombian born artist Tatiana Arocha to create the art project Tropical Birds which we came across by surprise in the Brooklyn Navy Yard this past weekend. Sitting on a bench, we suddenly heard the sound of birds (and these weren’t pigeons, which are also roosting at the Navy Yard for Duke Riley’s Fly by Night).

Painted Bunting-Tropical Bird-Prospect Park-Vagrancy-Brooklyn-NYCTropical Bunting in Prospect Park in December 2015. Photo via Audubon Society.

Such moments of serendipitous discovery is the aim of the project Tropical Birds, whose first “migration” features five Colombian tropical birds. As Arocha describes, “strange juxtapositions like [the painted bunting] are becoming commonplace in the wake of rising temperatures across the globe.” Each bird is hand painted, made of laser cut MDF with gold paint details.

Tropical Birds-Tatiana Arocha-Colombian Birds-Brooklyn Navy Yard-Queens Botanical Garden-NYC-003

Sanctuaries by Tatiana Arocha-Brooklyn Navy Yard-Queens Botanical Garden-Colombian-Birds-NYCTatiana Arocha at the Brooklyn Navy Yard with Tropical Birds

The birds featured the grey-breasted mountain toucan, found in the highlands of the Andes, the buff-tailed coronet, the yellow-crowned parrot, the helmetcrest  hummingbird and the Andean cock-of-the-rock. 

Tropical Birds-Tatiana Arocha-Colombian Birds-Brooklyn Navy Yard-Queens Botanical Garden-NYC-006

Tropical Birds-Tatiana Arocha-Colombian Birds-Brooklyn Navy Yard-Queens Botanical Garden-NYC-004

The first installation of the project is at Building 92 at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The map below shows additional locations where you can follow the migration, which has made it to through Fort Greene to Prospect Heights.

Analogous to the project, Arocha will also have wall-scale murals of Colombian birds and landscapes on display at the Queens Botanical Garden through August 7th, including events to meet her.

Next, read about the monk parrots of Green-Wood Cemetery.

 Brooklyn Navy Yard, Tatiana Arocha

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