Posts Tagged ‘birdcage’

“An artist is a dreamer consenting to dream of the actual world.” George Santayana

Birdcage Mural at the St. Louis Zoo -- Photo by Pat Bean

Travels With Maggie

Inspiration for a blog topic eluded me this morning. After an hour spent reading e-mails, favorite blogs and the depressing news in the New York Times, I still hadn’t come up with a keyboard burner.

Spoonbill nest against the frame of the Birdcage -- Photo by Pat Bean

So I did what I usually do when this happens. I peruse the photos I’ve taken since my canine traveling companion, Maggie, and I began living and traveling full-time in our RV, Gypsy Lee. Thankfully I have seven years and over 123,00 miles of fodder to search for an idea. The walk back down memory lane is always pleasurable so I’m not complaining.

This morning my fancy was stopped at the St. Louis Zoo, home of the Birdcage. This walk-in aviary was built for the 1904 World’s Fair by the Smithsonian Institution at a cost of $17,500.

It was supposed to be moved to the organization’s National Zoo in Washington D.C. after the fair ended, but St. Louis residents protested, and the Smithsonian generously allowed the city to buy the flight cage for $3,500.

Pieces of sky framed by the Birdcage's ribs, with artfully placed birds. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Cost of the birds was extra. Records show that these charges included $7.50 for a pair of Mandarin ducks and $20 for four Canada geese.

Today it’s been turned into a cypress swamp that houses aquatic birds commonly found along the Mississippi River.

Looking through the pictures that I took back in 2006, I was struck by the amazing likeness between art and the real thing. The art is part of the glass tile mural outside the cage and the real things are the birds that live in the aviary.

I found both beautiful, particularly when I thought about the artist who created the mural.

Now I’m curious to know who was the artist.  Do you know?

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