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Bird's Nest Project  March 2015


Following on from my contact  with Professor Stuart Bearhop (Chair in Animal Ecology, School of Biosciences, University of Exeter) my interest in birds prompted further research into bird boxes. From the unexpected consideration of the apertures of the bird box, my mind was thrown into turmoil. No longer could these be ad hoc. They needed to be considered, which was a surprise to me and my mind drifted away to enticing an unexpected bird.


I contacted local Camborne nature expert and life-long ad-hocist Phil Harris for his advice on the potential construction of a giant bird’s nest. He suggested I come around the next morning early, as he had a supply of willow which would be ideal for the proposed project. We soon exhausted Phil’s supply of Golden Willow and we were forced to go to Tolvaddon Valley in search of further supply of this recently overlooked resource.  I learned much about the willow’s renewable history, its uses in the past, from construction to basketry and how plastics have replaced it with disastrous effects.


Phil and I constructed a giant bird’s nest in his Camborne back garden and I drove it back to Falmouth with thoughts of The Goodies, Monty Python and Vic (Reeves) and Bob (Mortimer) in the forefront of my mind. From this point on, whenever I drive with the bird’s nest on the roof of my car, I would hear bird song and feel as if I am being watched from above. This draws attention from all quarters and many an interesting conversation has been had ranging from the curious to the surreal. The nest is constantly being added to and I have attempted to draw the attention of much local birdlife.


It was suggested to me on meeting a farmer at Trelosthan Woods, “A swan will go in it. They’d love it. They like the high sides. Put it in a bit of cover… or if you can float it out to an island, even better.” From that point on, it was my intention to entice an avian compadre into the nest.


The resulting bird’s nest videos show my attempts and failures of this project. I met a lot of people and had many interesting conversations around this piece which I would have most definitely never have had, had I not driven around West Cornwall with a giant bird’s nest on the roof of my car.

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