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Andrea Wilkinson, 1997

A colony of over 70 replica budgerigars, placed in clusters amongst the trees close to Kielder Castle Visitor Centre.

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The Flock was a colony of over 70 replica budgerigars, placed in clusters amongst the trees along the Duchess Trail woodland walk. Cast in resin and fibreglass directly from stuffed birds and then painted to a highly realistic standard, at first glance they tricked the eye into believing that they were real.

The artist added - "P.S. The stuffed birds had died from natural causes."

"The effect startles us and maybe rocks our preconceptions about what we expect to see in a forest in Northumberland. True, it is an incongruous pairing but not entirely implausible, they could have escaped from local breeders, and it is not unusual to hear reports of Ring-necked parakeets in Cornwall, Kashmir goats in Wales, and wallabies on Dartmoor. Afterall, are they any less unnatural than their environment? Kielder Forest is for the most part made up of Sitka Spruce (Canadian) and Norwegian Spruce, introduced to feed the timber industry, and Kielder Water, a man-made commercially run reservoir occupying what was once an inhabited valley.

None the less, it is easy to enjoy a walk around parts of Kielder Forest and our own sense of freedom could in part be reflected onto the idea of the liberated birds, though swiftly followed by feelings of concern and protectiveness towards these little escapees, vulnerable to the extremes of Northumberland weather." 

Although many of the birds have been lost over time, a small number can still be seen in the branches of one particular tree along the Duchess Trail. 

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