“It’s made me really conscious of how important green space is in the city—not just for the people who live here but for the wildlife that lives here, too.” Nicolas Holiber
The Birds on Broadway is an installation of giant wooden sculptures by artist Nicolas Holiber. They were designed to raise awareness of climate change’s on local birds. With 10 pieces in all, they have landed from 64th street up to 157th Street.
Holiber partnered with the city’s Parks Department, the Broadway Mall Association, the art gallery Gitler &, and the New York City Audubon to highlight 10 species based on Audubon’s habitat predictions. These birds are all native New Yorkers or frequent visitors.
The idea for the project dates back to 2014. The bird sculptures have taken a year to build. He started building 2018. For six months Holiber worked on the flock’s wooden frames, using reclaimed lumber from Big Reuse, a surplus salvage vendor in Brooklyn, and scraps he collected from the streets.
He spent the remainder of the year on the birds’ plumage with the help of his studio assistant, Bishop Mcindoe. There was no diagram, it was created with heart.
The model for Holiber’s wooden sculpture perched at 105th Street and Broadway is at just 21 percent of its current summer range and the bird’s habitat could shift north to Canada where cormorants don’t typically breed in order to adapt.
The birds range from a red-necked grebe carrying three chicks atop its back to a tanager gathered in a row on 86th Street, a snowy owl, to a peregrine falcon with a wingspan of nearly 10 feet towers over pedestrians on 148th street.
Holiber hopes his sculptures will serve as a reminder that we need to work to protect these magnificent creatures. These real-life conditions are getting worse as the planet rapidly warms. According to National Audubon’s 2014 climate report, climate change directly affects 314 species of birds, 145 of of them pass through New York City.
Nicolas Holiber’s Birds on Broadway is on view through January 2020. For more click here.