A Glimpse into the Whimsical World of Local Artist David Bird

This South Kingstown-based artist turns backyard debris into fine art.


In one photograph, the woodland creature Ryder dances joyfully under a flower. In another, Go Go hitches a ride on a mouse. A third depicts Silas splashing in a pool of water alongside a sparrow. 

The characters, called Becorns, are the creation of South Kingstown artist David Bird. He builds the figurines out of sticks, acorns and pine cones and then photographs them interacting in storybook-like scenes with animals in nature.  

“I’ve heard from a lot of people that my work reminds them of their childhood, of a simpler time when there was that sense of possibility and wonder,” Bird says. 

Over the last few years, Bird’s art has gained national attention; he was recently featured, for example, on “CBS Sunday Morning.” But the roots of his Becorns project date back to 2008. 


Photography courtesy of David Bird

At the time, Bird, a Rhode Island School of Design-trained artist, had recently left a position designing for the Lego Bionicle brand. One day, he was visiting his mother outside of Pittsburgh and tasked with sweeping her driveway. 

“I looked down and saw a pile of sticks and in that moment realized that everything I learned at Lego — in terms of building characters, storytelling and creating worlds — I could do with natural materials,” he says. 

So he gathered some glue and got to work. A couple of years later, Bird added photography and wildlife into the mix by placing the Becorns in his backyard with bait, like a bundle of birdseed or some berries. He waited patiently, sometimes for days or weeks, to see what unfolded, all the while ready to capture the perfect scene with his camera. 

“It feels like a true collaboration with nature,” he says. “And there are so many little happy discoveries along the way because there’s an element of chaos that keeps things interesting.” 

Over the past two years, Bird’s work has become so popular — he has nearly 700,000 followers on Instagram alone — that he’s been able to turn his hobby into a full-time job. He offers about thirty different scenes as fine art prints and greeting cards through his website. His beloved Becorns are not for sale, but he plans to make bronze castings of them available later this year. 

“They’ll be more durable to withstand squirrel attacks,” he says. davidmbird.com