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The Birds public art piece

Vancouver's Birds return to roost in Olympic Village

Having flown the nest for essential restoration work, The Birds is back

"The Birds is much-loved by those who live in and visit Vancouver and is part of the vibrant artwork which enlivens our public spaces," says Mayor Gregor Robertson.

August 14 2018 –

Artist Myfanwy MacLeod's The Birds has returned to Olympic Village today ahead of the 27th International Ornithological Congress (IOC 2018) which starts this weekend.

The newly restored public artwork was originally commissioned by the City of Vancouver through its Olympic and Paralympic Public Art Program in 2010.

Removed for repairs in November 2017, the sparrow sculptures were showing signs of severe damage following years of the public climbing, riding bicycles and skateboarding on them.

"The Birds is much-loved by those who live in and visit Vancouver and is part of the vibrant artwork which enlivens our public spaces," says Mayor Gregor Robertson. "The restoration ensures that a beloved work of art will stay for a very long time."

27th International Ornithological Congress

To celebrate IOC 2018, the reinstallation of The Birds is joined by another project by Myfanwy Macleod in partnership with the Contemporary Art Gallery (CAG).

From August 13 to September 3, a series of posters featuring birds called Neighbours will be displayed across downtown Vancouver in transit shelters. The poster are part of CAG's series which examines our relationship with, and our impact on, the natural world.

Quote from the artist

"This year is the 100th anniversary of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act," says Myfanwy MacLeod, "I'm thrilled The Birds and my new project Neighbours will be installed in time to celebrate this environmental milestone, as well as, the opening of the IOC 2018. I'm extremely grateful for all the support and commitment of The Contemporary Art Gallery and the City of Vancouver's Public Art Program on both these projects."

Repairs and cost

The cost of the removal, rebuild and reinstallation has been taken from a reserve fund previously set aside for maintenance of public art.

To carry out the essential repairs, the sculptures were moved to Calgary to prepare for mold-making before migrating to China where they were cast in aluminum, which provides greater strength and durability and delivers the best protection against future wear and tear, as well as making maintenance more cost-effective.

The Birds flew back to Calgary for finishing and coating work, and the finished products feature the same colourful painted surface as the originals.

The City understands that The Birds is beloved by Vancouverites but discourages climbing on the newly upgraded artwork to ensure it remains in place as long as possible.

Read more about the City's Public Art Programs