Meadows are a critical component of urban ecosystems, helping with stormwater retention, re-charging groundwater, and providing habitat for a diversity of species. To promote greater awareness of these habitats, Fairmount Park Conservancy asked twelve artists to design bird houses for the meadows of Fairmount Park. In the fall of 2016, these bird houses were exhibited at Mount Pleasant Mansion. They were then installed throughout East and West Fairmount Park in the spring of this year.
We just completed a new Meadow Mansions map, available here digitally, showing the permanent locations for all twelve custom-designed bird houses. Because we took into account the preferred habitat of the bird species in question, some of the houses are easy to find, while others might require an eagle eye! Use this guide to find them all! Check back for photos and information about upcoming guided tours.
4. Mourning dove (Nothing here but a pile of boxes by Lucia Thomé). This playful bird house is on the second floor porch of the playhouse at Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse. Check their visiting hours to see it in person!
5. American kestrel (Kestrel Birdhouse by Claes Gabriel). This brightly-hued bird house is installed in Cliff’s Meadow, in the trees near the ruins of the Cliffs, a former country house. The meadow is accessible from Sedgley Woods Disc Golf Course – take the grass path back through the course and into the meadow.
6. Tree swallow (Habitat lost, and gained by John Heron). This bird house made of recycled construction materials is in Warner Creek, just off of Sweetbriar Lane, and visible from the Centennial 5K Loop.
7. Wood duck (Go Nest, Young Duck [Manifest Nestiny] by Emily Bunker). This teak bird house, inspired by the Shofuso Japanese House, can be found (naturally) at the pond at the Shofuso Japanese Garden, visible from Horticultural Drive.
8. Carolina parakeet (Protector [for Extinct Carolina Parakeets and Others] by Jenny Kendler). This bird house, a reminder of an extinct species and of those whose populations are in decline, is at the Fairmount Park Horticulture Center, in the greenery at the back of the greenhouse. Check their visiting hours to see it in person!
9. Tree swallow and Eastern bluebird (Nested by Mallary Johnson). This pair of houses, made for compatible bird species, is in the Belmont Mansion Meadow, off of Belmont Mansion Drive (near the parking lot at Army Road).
10. Barred owl ([B.D.I.S.] Beacon, Defensive Improved Shelter by Mark C Martinez). This bright, mixed-material bird house is tucked away near the lower tip of Bittersweet Meadow. This is accessible from Wynnefield Avenue near Belmont Avenue.
11. American kestrel (Tree Crystal by Charlyn Griffith & Sam Spetner). This geometric cedar bird house is installed in Greenland Drive Meadow, near the intersection of Greenland Drive and West Ford Road.
12. Wood duck (Comeback Home by Aislinn Pentecost-Farren). This house made of found materials is on the Schuylkill River Trail near Martin Luther King Jr Drive. It’s visible from the parking lot across from Peters Island and close to the Bill Pickett Riding Academy.