John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
I'll take the week-old hotdog bun and a cigarette butt, please.
America's pets are fat and out of shape. Why can't its pigeons be, too?
Copenhagen-based designer Brian Wolter is helping steer city fowl toward becoming the hilarious lardasses of the sky – or of the sidewalk, more likely, once they pack on so many pounds all they can do is feebly move their wings and waddle around. His "fly-thru" birdhouse, which he calls an appropriate feeder for the "fast-food generation of birds," is modeled after a Burger King drive-thru restaurant. Theoretically, if a pigeon wanted a quick calorie injection, it could claw a snack from the diner's floor and pig out without landing once.
Wolter crafted his avian eatery with recycled wood and objects made with a 3-D printer. His attention to detail is impressive: Thanks to juice generated by solar panels, the Burger King sign and interior lights glow when the restaurant is "open." Though this is only a prototype, if the designer sticks to his guns he could probably seed the city with dozens of these burger-slinging outposts.
Sure, he's shortening the lives of pigeons by taking them away from their traditional diet of grain and veggies – not many people realize that feeding pigeons bread can actually starve them. But his customers will probably have the last laugh when Wolter gets smacked in the face by heavily breathing, 30-pound Columba livia.
Here are a few more looks at the fly-thru:
Photos by Povl Thomsen via Brian Wolter on Behance.