I don’t know about you, but this is what I wake up to every morning. It starts at 7am in a nearby eucalyptus tree, swells to a fever pitch an hour later and then fades to a random chirp by 10am. The same thing happened in a nearby palm tree when I lived in Hollywood. But I never really noticed it until one morning it dawned on me what this natural alarm clock actually was: Parakeets!
I found out that this chatty flock began as former caged birds who now roam feral with other escapees, hence the gentle pet-store-on-fire soundtrack I’m treated to every morning. From then on I became obsessed with learning my neighborhood birds. I first identified the hummingbirds that would zip around my window and do battle with huge glossy hornets over the bigger flowers in my garden—I’m not kidding, the hummingbirds were surprisingly territorial. And the human-sized wingspan that swooped out of the Hollywood United Methodist Church campanile to surf the updrafts, spiraling skyward until he was out of sight? Red-tailed hawk.
So when I was riding my bike down Fountain the other day, I was so very thrilled to find this mural: Birds of Hollywood.
The mural is by Elkpen, whose website proves we are indeed kindred spirits:
Living in the city, birds are the wildlife I see most often. When I watch a bird hopping around on the sidewalk, or cocking it’s head from the phone wire I am struck by how personable he, or she, is. I hope that in making pictures about birds the livingness and individuality of birds becomes more apparent.
What I love most about this mural is that it’s useful. It’s location-specific, right down to the fact that it offers information about local birds in both Spanish and English.
All in all, it’s probably one of the most perfect examples of public art I’ve ever laid eyes on. Look for it at the corner of Fountain and Gordon.