Street artist Thomas “Dambo” Winther’s Happy City Birds project is a unique endeavor that uses trash to build homes for birds. Specifically, Winther’s project involves upcycling trash into birdhouses.
My Modern Met quotes the artist:
“Birds are actually great at recycling and we need to appreciate this. They eat old food, fruits, berries, and nuts lying about. In that way, they help to clean and distribute seeds around our cities, so new plants can grow.”
The project, which started on MySpace, began when the artist began documenting the manufacturing and installation of 250 Birdhouses in Denmark from materials that were donated and discarded (except for the nails) in 2008. After the success in Denmark, he has installed hundreds of birdhouses in cities around the world including 150 birdhouses in Beirut. Through the Happy City Birds project, he also hosts workshops and events to teach others how to make birdhouses.
What’s the purpose besides helping birds? The artist wants people to reexamine their views on trash and to truly ask whether we are leaving space in urban cities for birds.
He tells the story in a documentary (see below) of “two boys at a birdhouse building workshop who still wanted to build birdhouses even after they had ran out of materials” and “the two boys went home and salvaged speakers from an alley and brought them back to be upcycled into birdhouses.”