A Critical Analysis of Modern Bird’s Nest Art

sparrow nest

Scrappy and bold, this nest exemplifies the substantial realm of street art-based nests, using materials found and built anywhere to avoid scrutiny. I once saw a masterpiece coming out of the letter D on a sign that said Donuts near my house. Amazing.

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Robin’s Nest

While praise has traditionally been sung about the sturdiness of this ubiquitous nest, I’m not impressed. There’s just something so nest-y on this subject. He’s trying too hard to be a nest. While there’s a lot to celebrate here – the roundness, the slenderness of the sticks – this nest ultimately speaks to a bygone era when nests had to be purely representative. A nest doesn’t have to look like a nest to be a nest.

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hummingbird nest

The hummingbird nest had been built to an impossible scale by my peers – to the point that I could only expect it to let me down, like hamilton and Eileen Fisher’s clothes. But, as difficult as it is to imagine, the Hummingbird’s Nest has surpassed even the most praised reviews, catapulting itself into a stratosphere of composition that perhaps no bird has ever reached before. Shiny cobweb and dew-tinted fishing line form a base beneath delicate tufts of foam. I cry, just remembering it.

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Bald Eagle’s Nest

With this nest you get what you expect, and that’s okay. Sticks protruding here and there with precise vagueness, and that’s what eagles are, bald or not. Sometimes you pay for the vastness, for the decision, for a banal monolith. There is nothing to say about this nest that the nest cannot say for itself.

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cowbird nest

A controversial piece of performance art, this “nest” is not a nest at all. On the contrary, the artist (brown-headed cowbird) lays its eggs in the nests of other birds and leaves these birds to raise its young. Some have called this approach bold and refreshing, especially when the artist chooses a much smaller bird’s nest, resulting in an absurd juxtaposition. But let’s call it what it is: cheap, overdone and downright boring. I didn’t come for the show; I came looking for a nest.

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Swallow’s Nest

This cliffside variation of a nest subverts tradition and replaces standard sticks and straw with bolder, more modern mud and dirt. Not for trypophobes, these nests can inspire awe or loathing, depending on the audience. I find them quite moving, but my teenage daughter hates them.

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Bowerbird Bower

It may surprise novice nest specialists to learn that bird building is not a nest, but a courtship tactic. Nevertheless, his riffs on the nesting have earned him some analysis, and the verdict is clear: the arbor is impressive. It takes seven years for the bird to complete these ornate creations, filled with curated collections. The allusions to found art are not lost on this critic: it seems to me a sort of ironic (and ultimately effective) way of saying, “Yes, I am cultured. Please make love to me.

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