Bird conservationist prepares to cross London wearing nothing but paint
A conservationist prepares to walk through London dressed only in paint to look like a bird as part of a campaign to support endangered species in the UK.
Hannah Bourne-Taylor, 36, will launch a petition on Saturday calling for ‘quick bricks’ to be made compulsory in new housing estates as part of her campaign, The Feather Speech, which is backed by the Royal Society for Protection of Birds (RSPB) and the charity Rewriting Extinction.
Ms Bourne-Taylor, from London, will deliver a speech at Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park at midday before walking to Downing Street.
It comes after her nature memoir Fledgling went viral earlier this year following the publication of a newspaper article detailing how she raised a baby bird and left it to nest in her hair for 84 days.
Speaking to the PA News Agency as she prepared on Saturday morning, the author and environmentalist said: ‘I’m pretty cold, I feel pretty weird being naked and reasonably worried about what’s going on. happen but I’m excited.”
Ms Bourne-Taylor said renowned artist Guido Daniele started painting her at 8am on Friday, adding that she had to try to avoid staining her while she slept through the night.
When asked why she was organizing the protest without clothes and looking like a bird, she replied: “Because I am a person without influence, so when it comes to the environmental crisis, I feel completely helpless as a ordinary person and I suddenly realized that I could change that if I could use visual imagery.
“So the feather talk is about how leading scientists and a world-renowned artist come together for birds.
“And I know visual imagery can be very powerful, it can also be very positive and hopeful and it’s not a disruptive campaign.
“And while at the heart of it is something incredibly heartbreaking, who are these birds that are facing national extinction – a bit of a story of misfortune and sadness – this body image is beautiful and positive and seeks to find the connection between us and the birds that live within our walls.
Ms Bourne-Taylor added that she had ‘Lady Godiva’ hair, hoping the combination ‘will change the fate of these birds’.
She said the petition, which she hopes 100,000 people will sign to be debated in parliament, calls for “quick bricks” in all new housing estates as they have been found to be environments of beneficial nesting sites for four red-listed species – swifts, house sparrows, house swallows and starlings.
Their decline is directly correlated to development projects although they are not recognized in the government’s net biodiversity gains, Ms Taylor-Bourne said.
“I love these birds. The idea of them not being in the UK skies is a nightmare, much more so than being naked in public subject to ridicule,” she said.
The environmentalist also said the broader goal was “to try to get everyone in this country involved”.
“If we all looked up and looked for these birds, we wouldn’t need a policy change to help protect them, so it’s all about raising awareness,” she said.
“These birds are epic, they’re iconic. They come with their signature screening parties and silhouettes.
“They’re worth fighting for, they’re worth it to me, and they’re worth it to a lot of people,” she said, adding, “Every bird matters.”
RSPB Executive Director Emma Marsh said: “Swifts are one of many species that desperately need our help.
“More than half have disappeared from the UK skies in just 20 years, partly due to a lack of suitable nesting sites.
“As Hannah’s incredible campaign points out, fast bricks should be mandatory in all new property developments.
“I urge everyone to sign this petition to help ensure that the swifts and other species that have traditionally nested in the cavities of our buildings have a safe home to return to each year.”
To sign the petition, go to: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/626737.