Friday, December 1, 2006

The Mystery of L.A.'s Hanging Birds

The most-asked question we get at Franklin Avenue these days has to do with the mysterious birds hanging from wires around town (such as the one above). Just yesterday, reader Christine wrote in:

Lately something has been peaking my curiousity and I'm wondering whether other people have noticed this and if you've written about it in your blog.

There are bird cut-outs hanging on the telephone lines at intersections of many streets in Los Angeles. There is a pale yellow one at Franklin and Bronson. A bright yellow one at Franklin and Highland. A pale blue one at Sunset -- I think it is at Alvarado. Today I took Melrose to work and saw a bright orange one at Melrose in the Fairfax district -- I think the cross street was Melton. Until this week there was a bright yellow one at Wilshire and Sepulveda, but it wasn't there on Monday.

Have you noticed them? Do you know why they're there?

Another reader, Aaron, has written us about them a couple of times, including one also yesterday:

A few weeks back I emailed a question about seeing hanging ducks on various intersections in Hollywood. Well this morning on the Jaime, Jack & Stench show on Star 98.7 I heard a teaser like, “Coming up we’ll talk about urban myths in the city like those hanging ducks.” I got to work before they got to that segment so I didn’t hear it, but maybe they have a transcript or something on their website? Either way, it sounded like they had the answer…

Thankfully, LA Brain Terrain did some digging, and found out that our guesses are mostly accurate: They are the work of a local artist.

Specifically, the artist goes by the name 4eightyone. Here's his Myspace page, and here's his blog.

Unfortunately, neither site deals with the artist's motivation behind installing the birds around town.

Other blogs that have investigated the mysterious birds include and Monty Heights. Do any of you have any more info? Where's the strangest spot you've seen the birds?

Gotta say this: If 4eightyone's motivation was to simply create a buzz, he wildly succeeded.

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