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Public Art

Bird Lady

Breckenridge Recreation Center
Phillip Glashoff

“Oh no. It happened again!”, shouted Marsha Cooper to her husband Cary from the deck of their home just below Baldy Mountain. It was the third time in the summer of 2001 that local Summit County bears had climbed the Coopers’ deck to tear down the bird feeders and drink the sugary syrup intended to attract and feed hummingbirds. Although they loved watching the birds hover and drink, the risk of bears was too high. 
As luck would have it, that same summer the Coopers discovered the work of sculptor Phillip Glashoff, which reuses compressor covers, motorcycle tanks, fire extinguishers, and other rusted equipment from the artist’s ranch in Suisun Valley, California. Glashoff had just completed a life-sized sculpture titled Bird Lady, which reminded the Coopers of their recent “birds and bears” encounter. They purchased the piece and installed it on their property. Surprisingly, birds flocked to the sculpture and the bears stopped showing up! 
Before leaving their Breckenridge home of 26 years, Cary and Marsha Cooper asked the Breckenridge Town Council and Breck Create if they would like to have Bird Lady in the public art collection. The piece was accepted unanimously and, to this day, continues to repel bears, attract birds, and bring smiles to those who discover her standing in her new home amongst the trees at the entry to the Breckenridge Recreation Center.