Beautiful new breed of 'birds' appear along Falkirk's Forth and Clyde Canal

Bird watchers may be more than a little confused when they first spot the “birds” which have mysteriously appeared in the trees lining the Forth and Clyde Canal.

Wednesday, 4th August 2021, 7:00 am

The new arrivals are not birds at all but part of Chroma Calls – a new installation of 20 abstract sculptures by artists Yulia Kovanova and Lars Koens , which can be found attached to trees along a four mile stretch of the canal, from the Kelpies right up to the Falkirk Wheel.

Running until the end of the month, the installation is designed to mirror the colour palette of different species of real river-dwelling birds, including the Tufted Duck, Kingfisher and Mute Swan.

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One of the colourful sculptures in the Chroma Calls installation

Commissioned by Falkirk Community Trust and Scottish Canals, the artists’ sculptures highlight the ecology of the canal and some of the local and visiting bird species.

Yulia and Lars worked with ecologist and Scottish Canals environmental manager Olivia Lassiere to select some of the most iconic bird species to feature in the canal and the adjacent walking and cycling path.

Each sculpture is designed to move in the wind and create sounds that carry along the canal.

In addition to the birds’ body parts, the minimal shapes of the sculptures – circles, semi-circles and lines – echo the canal’s industrial and natural features, the canal, its locks and its bridges relate to linear shapes, and the Falkirk Wheel has circular and semicircular shapes.

The colourful sculptures have been catching people's eye as they walk along the canal

As a result, Chroma Calls is a conjunction of the heritage, environment and communities of the waterway.

Yulia said: “Chroma Calls was truly a collaborative process. When it came to installing the sculptures we were guided by the local and visiting birds alighting on the trees or the canal nearby.

"As we worked on the project, I myself developed attentiveness towards the rich wildlife of the Canal. I had to look more intently than I would normally do: to search for the birds, to spot the right trees, to find the best match. For me, the sculptures evoke more consideration of our surroundings. In order to observe those bird species that live along the canal, you must have that kind of attentiveness, or else they simply drift into the background. The canal is so rich with life, you can see it all if you pay attention.”

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