Sweet Spot With Mike Sugerman: 'Mother Pigeon' Finds Beauty In City's Birds

August 16, 2019 - 5:00 am
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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- While some may call them rats with wings and the scourge of the city, one New York City artist is trying to get people to see the beauty in pigeons.

"I love them because in New York there isn't much nature for us to enjoy," said Tina "Piña" Trachtenburg, aka Mother Pigeon, who can be seen at Union Square two or three times a week collecting and caring for the birds. "They are here for us to admire because they are beautiful creatures."

Packin up my flock! Byeee unionsq! See ya next time! #peddlingpigeons #handmadedress #beehive #streetart #folkart

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There are somewhere north of 1 million pigeons in New York City, but that's not enough for Mother Pigeon, so she makes stuffed pigeons out of felt in her Bushwick workshop.

She uses the "soft sculpture pigeons" to create an animal rights installation to raise awareness about the plight of the city's pigeons.

"What's a good way to have people see them the way that I see them other than make some the way that I see a pigeon which is cute and cuddly and funny. They're just adorable," Trachtenburg tells Mike Sugerman in this week's Sweet Spot. "I get all kinds of reactions from, 'That's disgusting' — I get that all the time — all the way to the other end of the spectrum which is, 'That is brilliant.'"

Been cooped up for days and as of now it looks like no rain tomorrow! I will be perched in unionscare from noon to 4! Photo cred to @alycia_kravitz .#pigeonreligeon #kissingpigeons #stopandsmellthepigeons #supportstreetart #folkart #pigeonpeddlar #pidgeilante #oneflewoverthecuckoosnest

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Trachtenburg will often surround herself with her creations along with real pigeons, and for many passersby, it's hard to spot the difference between the two. That's is until you get close up.

"From afar they look real. I got fooled by it before so it's good stuff," one man said.

"I thought they were all real," one teen said.

Going to be in my workshop for the coming days because i need to make more birds and rats. If you want to adopt any critters, you are invited to come to my home studio/workshop! I will be working on my book, and motherpigeon dolls. This is a nice picture of me selling on the street. I have way too much fun out there. Art is one of my saviours and I am so grateful for nature and all of the people, films and music that inspire me to be creative. Thank you always for all of your support and I hope to inspire you to be creative too.. ❤❤@iloveloopy photo cred #mexicanmama #pigeonreligeon #pigeonpeddlar #pidgeilante #birdlady #streetart #awonderfullife #allofthemwitches #cardinal #rat #dreamjob #neverfeelslikework #ninoroto #wesandersonyouwish #alanwatts #pema #thebirds #georgecarlin #plantingflowerstoday #paintingpicturesfortheblind

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On her Facebook page, Trachtenburg says her art has become a way to show love for pigeons and it seems it could be prompting some to have a change of heart towards the birds.

One woman, who said she's not too keen on pigeons after having some bad experiences with them, tells Sugerman, "I like that she's created art and beauty out of them."

With the help of some puppets and her composer husband, who along with their daughter round out their band The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players, Mother Pigeon also expresses her love for the city's birds in song.