Mother Pigeon’s pigeons just outside Madison Square Park yesterday, snapped by Untapped Cities writer Laurie Gwen Shapiro
Walk by quickly and you just might think these pigeons are real, until you realize they’re not moving because they’re made of felt. It’s a running pop-up installation by Brooklyn-based artist Mother Pigeon, also known as Tina Piña Trachtenburg. She refers to the pigeon installations as “Flashflock Outstallations” and we have to admit, the made up terms make sense. She’s one of the New Yorkers who love pigeons, and besides tending to a flock on her roof in Bushwick, she makes these stationary pigeons out of acrylic felt, recycled clothing for stuffing, fiberfill and wire. The feet can bend to wrap around objects.
A sign that accompanies the “outstallation” warns, “Do not feed the pigeons. They are already stuffed.” Part of Mother Pigeon’s love for the creature is aesthetic, and she relishes in the variation. “They may be dark, charcoal gray, black, or light gray,” she writes, ” 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.” In an interview with NBC, she contends “If [the pigeons] are dingy gray and dirty it’s because we have made them dirty,” she maintains.
It all began when the native Texan moved to Brooklyn, where a flock of pigeons happened to roost on her roof. They started following her down the street on errands and she loved their different characters. “They are like people and come in very different personalities—some are bossy, some are chill, some are feisty, they are all sweet,” she tells NBC. They’re also rather misunderstood: Mother Pigeon shares that pigeons are actually more intelligent than cats and dogs, they co-parent their young, and live in communities – just like us.
After different efforts at pigeon advocacy, including writing a book, composing songs, and convincing her husband to wear a pigeon costume, the outstallation took form, with Mother Pigeon in the middle of her “flock.” Positioned so that they look active, the pigeons are always a fun brood to come across.
Mother Pigeon has also extended to that other divisive urban animal we love, the rat, and created felt pizza rats following the infamous video last year. And, you can buy the stuffed pigeons for $40 each.
You can follow Mother Pigeon on Instagram, where she informs followers to her next locations – today she’ll be in Union Square. Next, discover pigeon-related landmarks of New York City.