There are some builders that we can’t help but showcase again and again. These are the incredible artists that somehow manage to consistently produce one beautiful build after another. One such builder, Felix Jaensch, is at it again. His LEGO animals are always superb, and stand as frozen replicas of their real-life counterparts. This handsome male kestrel is certainly no exception. He shares a remarkable, regal resemblance to the real bird, only slightly larger to capture the detail.
Kestrels are very unique predators. At least in the US, they have sometimes been mistakenly called “sparrow hawks” for their size. But these little birds are not hawks at all. They have the distinct “tear” marks and notched beaks of the falcon family. They also hunt and dispatch their prey with their beaks instead of their feet. One unique thing about kestrels is that they hover-hunt. Which means their wings are specially designed to fly almost stationary, less than 80 feet off the ground. Then they dive at their prey. Also, they can see the ultraviolet glow of vole urine, which is left in trails through fields. Additionally, males and females are dimorphic, meaning that they look different from each other. Males are smaller and more colorful, while females are larger and more neutral.
I have actually had the lucky opportunity to work closely with a mated pair of these magnificent little birds, Simba and Nala. I was captivated by their charm as I helped train them for an Ambassador Animal program at a wildlife rehabilitation center. Unfortunately, both birds were un-releasable due to previous injuries. Simba was missing an eye from hitting a window, and Nala had a bad wing from being attacked by a cat. It’s a stark reminder of our impact on wildlife. You can help by supporting your local wildlife center, putting a bell on your cat, and placing deterrents on/near windows.
Chungpo Cheng, that’s who! You might remember Chungpo’s work from a few weeks ago when we shared his stunning, super-sized Star Wars battle droids. This time, he chose to make big versions of the classic LEGO owl, rat and “cheese slope” elements. In particular, the owl is packed with lots of personality. Those big eyes and upturned eyebrows make Chungpo’s owl look warm and approachable. I almost want to hand-feed the little guy some birdseed!
Chungpo has sculpted an excellent likeness of the original owl piece. He has even photographed the two side-by-side for comparison. Continue reading
Inspired by the Pixar short For the Birds, Gregory Coquelz has built this faithful recreation of the film’s unfriendly birds. The build captures the expression and character perfectly, thanks to minifig helmets used as eyelids and curved slopes as beaks. The addition of the electrical line and the slight gradient in the background make it almost like watching the cartoon.
If you’ve ever wanted for a masterfully crafted LEGO timepiece, Sven Franic has you covered with this immaculate cuckoo clock created for an exhibition contest. Sven will be displaying this in the LEGO House as part of the celebration of the 60th birthday of the LEGO brick. The hands point to the exact time when the patent for the LEGO brick was registered.
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Crows are often attributed ominous and intimidating characteristics, but interestingly enough, this one by John Cheng would have none of that. While the head seems a bit large, the beak leaves no question as to what bird this build represents. John uses just enough specialized parts to give a clever build, while still incorporating lots of more traditional slopes. For a seemingly simple creation, the builder has achieved plenty of character and realism.
Although the scarlet macaw is native to the humid evergreen forests of tropical South America, you may wish to take this opportunity to have your own as a desktop pet. There are definite advantages to owning the LEGO version designed by British builder Alan Mann; it will be a low maintenance and looks pretty without requiring too much grooming or feeding.
Alan has also provided an opportunity to enjoy the scarlet macaw in its natural habitat. The wild, open space of the forest is a much better place to see a real macaw, but your LEGO macaw will regress into a statue-like state and refuse to fly if released into the wild.
Living in southern California, I hear a lot about the California condor during my frequent visits to the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park. And rightly so, because in 1987 condors went extinct in the wild, with only twenty-two individuals remaining in captivity. With the help of the LA Zoo, these three institutions bred the condors in captivity and reintroduced them into the wild. Now their combined population is over 440. Aaron Newman has built a deceptively small version of the condor in LEGO bricks, and the result is wonderful.
The model makes perfect usage of the minifig fan piece, the seed part for the current round of the ABS Builder Challenge, along with many other assorted spike parts, and minifigure katanas.
Break out the red sugar water, because Forlorn Empire built the perfect bird feeder to attract every LEGO hummingbird in your neighborhood straight to your backyard! Not only does this tiny hanging feeder look just like the real thing, but it’s packed full of some incredible NPU including minifig components (hands and arms), buckets, and the perfect fake plastic yellow “flower” to show the birdos where to sip while they hover.
There seems to be a persisting presence of bird builds in the LEGO community, more so than other animals. Now Paul Lee joins the fun with his recreation of a Hyacinth Macaw. It is one of my favourite kinds of parrots personally, but I never expected it to be the bird of choice for nearly anyone else. While the legs are simplistic (still realistic), the facial detail and feather texture more than make up for it.
The word flamingo actually comes from the Spanish word flamenco, which came from the earlier Latin word flamma, meaning flame or fire. The name seems all the more apt for this LEGO Flamingo created by BrickBro given that it’s actually built from red bricks rather than pink. The posing of this bird is perfect, with one foot characteristically tucked up whilst the other wades through the shallow water. I love the dual purpose of the clear dish, which firstly holds the bird in a standing position, but also depicts a ripple in the water. Those stick legs look just as fragile as an actual flamingo’s legs.
This shapely bird has some clever, albeit illegal, techniques in the neck area, where the builder has used a short length of tubing to attach the tiles bottom-to-bottom. The model is built only from LEGO parts however, and stands surprisingly steady on that one little stick leg.
Macaws are stunning birds, and smart to boot. I’ve heard plenty of great stories from those who get the chance to interact with them regularly. Felix Jaensch has posted this beautiful sculpture that captures the bird perfectly.
The curve of the beak is spot on, and the face sculpting is excellent.
This angry-looking bird isn’t the star of a mobile game or summer movie, but is actually an ingenious interpretation of one of nature’s bigger-billed birds, the African-native shoebill. The real bird stands a remarkable 4 feet tall with an enormous bill for catching fish. Builder Moko has done a great job using the shin guards from the large General Grievous figure to portray the bill, but my favorite part is the expressive eyes. Be sure to check out Moko’s blog for a cool breakdown of the construction techniques employed.