The bird life on the Lakes in Copenhagen is surprisingly plentiful and diverse. Each time we walk around the lakes we notice new nests or – even better – new tiny baby birds in the coot’s nest, striped young ones on the back of great crested grebe or ducklings paddling with their mallard parents. If the weather is good, we stop to watch their funny antics and take photos. Today, mother swan was busy with six little grey cygnets, fussing to add feathers and other warm materials to the remaining grey-green egg. With spring comes new life, fresh and full of opportunities. It gives me moments of unbridled joy, following this happy addition to the abundant bird life in the middle of Copenhagen.
Copenhagen has a refreshing number of green spaces that support wildlife. A harbour town (originally known just as Havn – habour), it is situated on the water with plentiful canals and parks, both highly designed gardens like the King’s Garden and the more naturally maintained parks like Dyrehaven. The moors that used to flank the old town outside the ramparts are partly preserved in parklands.
The great thing about these green areas are that they are home to plenty of bird life – from the large swans to the tiny finches and sparrows: blue tit, great tit, forest sparrow, robins etc. They flitter in and out of bushes and are impossible to capture on camera. My bird watching husband is excited to see these birds that were rare when he was bird watching in Essex as a child in the 1980s.
But the Copenhagen bird that has caught my eye and imagination is not to be found in the parks and can easily be captured on film. This bird is the Graffiti Bird and once I spotted the first one, I realised it is ubiquitous in this town.
I like graffiti and respect graffiti artists. Graffiti in the Banksy style is humourous, clever and often political. City councils find themselves preserving a bit of wall with good graffiti art (especially when it is Banksy and potentially valuale). These same councils also spend enormous resources to remove graffiti from the street picture. The Graffiti Bird caught my imagination. It is a happy picture, simple in its design and often imposed where it juxtaposes unsightly features of the city or other less aesthetic graffiti. I imagine property owners and København Kommune less enthusiastic about the Graffiti Bird, which has been around for some time. I am not sure who the artist is for there is no consistent tag, or if it is just one artist or several.