The Birds! The Birds! (3)


 There are lots of birds in London – not just pigeons in Trafalgar Square.

bird on Screen - Excel Court, Whitcomb Street

This little blackbird is one of my favourites. He is on a gate on a private passageway near the National Gallery of Art.

bird Crested Crane of Uganda, Trafalgar Square






The Crested Crane is the bird of Uganda and appears on the nation’s coat-of-arms on their High Commission at Trafalgar Square.


Bird at the Serpentine, Hyde Park

This large sculpture stands beside the Serpentine. The sculpture was designed by artist Simon Gudgeon, and shows Isis, the Egyptian goddess of motherhood, who sometimes appeared as a bird. It was erected in 2009 and was the first new large statue in Hyde Park in 50 years.








Bird - Heron at Duck Island Cottage - Lumix39

A grey heron stands in a pool in front of Duck Island Cottage, St. James’s Park.




bird - Dodo - Bethnal Green School - Lumix110

This colourful Dodo bird is one of several mosaics on a wall of a primary school on Globe Road, Bethnal Green.



Bird at the Globe 2Sony134

The gates at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre feature animals mentioned in his plays, including this swallow.


Bird Wing, Throgmorton St - Lumix143







I think this huge Wing in front of an office building on Throgmorton Street is fairly amazing.


Birds at Post Office Court - Nikon12

This plaque is on a wall in a passageway between Lombard Street and King William Street where the General Post Office stood from 1678 to 1820. Maybe they used homing pigeons for special delivery!

Actually, it looks like two doves unrolling a scroll with an olive branch, symbol of peace.

Cranes at Fortnum and Mason, Jermyn Street

 The windows of the restaurant at Fortnum and Mason features these graceful cranes.

The cranes must be a symbol of the store since they are also used on the china used in the restaurant.


Always happy to do a bit of research, I found this on Wikipedia:
“The cranes’ beauty and their spectacular mating dances have made them highly symbolic birds in many cultures with records dating back to ancient times.
The crane was a bird of omen.
Pliny the Elder wrote that cranes would appoint one of their number to stand guard while they slept. The sentry would hold a stone in its claw, so that if it fell asleep it would drop the stone and waken”.


Bird, Dead in Greenwich 2Sony79A few years ago I took a photo of this sculpture of a knackered bird near the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. I don’t know if the sculpture is still there, but I thought he was really funny, so I included him on this list of birds.
It looks like he had a rough night! Hope he perked up and flew away.

bird Supreme Court Canon236This little bird with oak leaves is one of many little detailed carvings on the Supreme Court building at Parliament Square.  The building is covered with carvings of animals, angels, symbolic figures and history.  It is really worth spending some time looking at the details.




Phoenix and Resurgum lighter - Nikon 5The most important symbolic bird in London is undoubtedly this one on St. Paul’s Cathedral, Sir Christopher Wren’s magnificent church.  The phoenix is rising from the ashes of the Great Fire of London which destroyed the old gothic cathedral in 1666 .


The motto RESURGAM means “I shall rise again”.

The legend is that when Christopher Wren went to inspect the ruins of the old cathedral after the fire he asked workmen to clear rubble from a spot in the middle of the devastation.  They pulled away a large tombstone and when it was turned over, Wren saw the inscription “RESURGAM”.
What a perfect motto for the rebuilding of the cathedral and the City of London.

@Cathey Leitch, 2015