Crotona Park, Bronx
BIRDLINK Update 2021
First-of-its-kind living sculpture in the Bronx melds science and art to address urban wildlife challenges As one million species face extinction due to climate change, BirdLink works with communities to support biodiversity in cities across the U.S. NEW YORK – Today, in the Bronx’s Crotona Park unveils a new and improved BirdLink installation: a living, native-plant sculpture that now employs the latest science to attract and provide habitat for resident and migrating birds. While each BirdLink modular structure is uniquely adapted to its installation site, the Bronx sculpture is the first to employ the latest avian science on vision and color perception. “With its shimmering iridescent blue color, the new installation will likely be highly visible to birds,” said Professor Mary Caswell Stoddard, who specializes in avian sensory ecology, evolution and behavior at Princeton University. “Birds have excellent color vision—seeing a whole range of colors we humans cannot perceive.” Professor Stoddard’s research explores the fact that unlike human color vision, avian vision is tetrachromatic, which means that birds have four different types of color cones in their eyes. One of these cone types is sensitive to ultraviolet or violet light. In comparison, humans only have three color cone types. The Bronx installation, which was designed to provide critical habitat for migrating birds threatened by climate change, now gleams with iridescent colors that mimic flamboyant plumage, like the feathers of a peacock, so it stands out more against the landscape to better attract the animals.
In The Press: New York Times
“A Tenement For Birds“
Swamp rose, dewberry, buttonbush. Sound familiar? Maybe not.
But to the artist Anina Gerchick, these plants are her medium. She used them and many other native-to-New York perennials to build Birdlink, a 12-foot-tall living sculpture that is a rest stop for migrating birds in Sara D. Roosevelt Park on the Lower East Side.
Birdlink is composed of rectangular wire blocks in which Ms. Gerchick installed about 2,000 plants, which she identified with signage. Each plant grows something that migrating birds need to refuel, like seeds, fruit or nuts.
In The Press: The Lo-Down
“BIRDLINK, a Living Sculpture for Birds, Comes to Sara D. Roosevelt Park”
Artist Anina Gerchick unveiled her latest BIRDLINK sculpture in Sara D. Roosevelt Park last Sunday. The living art sculpture made its way here after a prototype was set up on Governor’s Island last summer. Another sculpture was set up in the East River State Park in Williamsburg last fall. The project is meant to alert people to the challenges faced by migrating birds that may be on the edge of extinction.
In The Press: AMNY
“Sculpture on Lower East Side will help birds flock together“
Artist Anina Gerchick wants to add more jungle and less concrete to New York City.
On June 8, she unveiled her third BIRDLINK installation — a 16-foot-long spiraling vertical structure filled with native plants — at Sara D. Roosevelt Park in the Lower East Side. The structure’s design consists of seven tower modules with roughly 19 planters for various plant species, including geraniums and chasmanthiums. The installation is expected to run until November.
Many creatures in the area, Gerchick said, depend on native plant species throughout the year. For the local birds, insects, and butterflies, it provides stable nourishment and shelter throughout the year. It also provides a spot for visiting birds to get some rest and refuel as they migrate biannually.
In The Press: Clean Technica
“Species Threat Made Real Through NY Native Plant Sculpture“
The most recent international report on climate change says it all. “The rate of species extinctions is accelerating.” “Nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history.” “Grave impacts on people around the world are now likely.” “We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health, and quality of life worldwide.”
Is anyone listening to these cries for awakening to the climate crisis around us, as voiced by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) in May, 2019? Or maybe listening isn’t the key to increasing awareness of the imminent effects of climate change.
One artist is trying to make the links between human actions and species extinction threat transparent by offering a chance for people to see and touch nature. In Manhattan’s Sara D. Roosevelt Park, artist Anina Gerchick has unveiled her latest BIRDLINK installation: a living, native-plant sculpture that provides habitat for resident and migrating birds and alerts people to the challenges faced by wildlife who share the neighborhood. The Manhattan installation responds to the recent IPBES report, which details the extinction threat facing nearly 1 million plants and animals, with an innovative network of habitat replacement interventions. The plants support birds traversing the major migratory corridor, Atlantic Flyway, that crosses the city.
In The Press: American Bird Conservancy
“This Art Project Could Help Make Cities More Habitable For Birds“
Can a series of art installations in New York City raise awareness about bird migration while improving urban habitat for migratory birds?
Resembling a bushy staircase at first glance, the living sculpture at East River State Park in Brooklyn may draw incredulous looks from curious park-goers, but for migratory birds, the structure — bursting with plants rich with berries, seeds, and flowers — is a much-needed commodity in a sea of concrete and asphalt.
Anina Gerchick, the New York-based artist and landscape architect behind this project, aims both to elicit reactions from passersby and to benefit wildlife. She designed BIRDLINK to be a green space particularly for birds that would also help connect city dwellers with the natural world.
In The Press: The Urban Audubon
“Engaging Community, Supporting Urban Birds”
Art and environmental awareness come together in BIRDLINK, a proposed network of native plant sculptures designed to connect isolated patches of urban bird habitat while promoting awareness of migratory bird species that pass through our city. The brainchild of artist and landscape architect Anina Gerchick, BIRDLINK made its debut in prototype form last July at NYC Audubon’s seasonal nature center on Governors Island. From there, the BIRDLINK prototype moved to East River State Park in Williamsburg, and plans are underway for a separate full-scale version to debut this summer in Sara D. Roosevelt Park in lower Manhattan.
All versions of BIRDLINK are planted with a variety of native plants such as Purple top Tridens and Black-eyed Susans to attract both birds and insects. The plants, donated by New York City Department of Parks & Recreation Greenbelt Native Plant Nursery, are rooted in a series of wire mesh baskets supported by modular bamboo ladder-like structures. This free-standing, spiraling green wall of native plants is designed to be a conversation starter for people, a valued rest stop for migratory birds, and an inspiration for backyard and rooftop gardeners. Over time, Gerchick envisions multiple installations, with the goal of linking wildlife corridors through neighborhoods in New York City that will support local and migratory birds and motivate local communities to support habitat conservation and biodiversity.
In The Press: Hyperallergic
“Birds Can Now Nest in a Living Sculpture in Brooklyn”
New York City is part of the Atlantic Flyway, a major bird migration route that swoops along the Atlantic Coast all the way from the Arctic to the Caribbean Sea. Commuting birds, like many New Yorkers, enjoy the respite of Central Park, but have few other options for food and rest in concrete-heavy Manhattan. Artist Anina Gerchick’s “Birdlink” is envisioned as a year-round living sculpture for local and migrating birds in these urban areas.
“The original idea was to have this in the densest urban areas possible so that it would really fill in a gap, especially since birds tend to fly over the Atlantic Flyway, see Central Park, land there, and then have to move north or south from that point,” Gerchick told Hyperallergic. “It’s been shown that they really do need places to rest and get more sustenance, so the idea was to provide some pockets — even if they’re small — to make a corridor. We ended up having the opportunity to build it on Governors Island, which is a very different place, but a perfect place to launch it.”
In The Press: AM New York
“Living sculpture project helps migratory birds in NYC parks”
Central Park and Prospect Park are globally recognized as havens for a variety of migratory birds. But just like every other New Yorker who stops for coffee ahead of their long, morning commute, birds also need stopovers for nourishment before continuing on their exhausting journeys. The question artist Anina Gerchick had was, simply, is the city a good host?
“So then the idea came to me, [birds] need to have nourishment that parks in parts of the city don’t offer since they don’t have native plants,” said Gerchick, the artist behind a yearlong project that invites local and migrating birds to urban parks around the city. “How do I get a public space to be a wildlife habitat?”