The passenger pigeon went extinct in 1914, the victim of deforestation and overhunting. Matt Goldberg pays tribute to this lost species with a beautiful LEGO recreation. This build is a complex mix of Technic, Bionicle, and System parts, with overlapping panels recreating organic curves. Minifigure arms help shape the head, and small radar dishes and 1×1 round plates give this bird just the right mournful eye line. I also like the inclusion of some props to give some context to things. The perch may be a simple build, but the tan creates a nice color contrast for the plumage. It’s a somber image, but a lovely one.
Birds are a popular subject for LEGO builders. For more avian goodness, check out some other featured models.
Builder Aiden.builds pulls plenty of feathers to create this beautiful LEGO model of a magpie in flight. I must admit to really loving LEGO bird models, especially seeing how builders treat the wings. This magpie has a beautiful wingspan using one of my favorite pieces, Shaft Ø3.2 Wing 9M inserted in a Bad Robot arm and clipped on to a flexi tube (Outercable 160Mm). The result is a lovely organic shape using a variety of thoughtful colors. The body is equally well done using quite a few different Technic fairings and the beak and eye are a perfect finisher.
Owls are fascinating creatures. You may be disappointed to find that they are not the wisest of all animals, as suggested in much of western pop-culture. (Or even birds for that matter.) But they have several extraordinary traits. For one, they have a special row of comb-like feathers on the edge of their wings that help provide silent flight. They also have superb binocular and night vision, with a neck that can turn 270 degrees, giving a much wider field. They also have “facial discs” like this LEGO model built by Eero Okkonen. The rounded collection of feathers on their faces aren’t for show. They, combined with asymmetric ears (a pair of off-set and different-sized holes on either side of their head), allow owls to determine exact positioning of their prey.
Although this build is, of course, for show, I admire the effort Eero puts into giving his creations realism. Using the dishes and chain links to decorate his Great Grey Owl’s face, along with that classic stern expression, was an excellent choice!
While you’re here, you should take a look at more of Eero’s excellent work. And for those birders out there, we have plenty of builds of the avian variety in our archives.
In the LEGO community, nice parts usage (or NPU) is something many builders strive to achieve. Using parts in an interesting way never fails to garner notice and compliments. Often these types of techniques are scattered throughout the model, but in the case of this hummingbird, builder Jaap Bijl gives us a figure that consists almost entirely of NPU. So, where does one begin?
The tree branch and leaves may be common, but the whips for vines and the small minifigure hammers for the flower stamens take us into unusual territory. The minifigure spanner used for the feet and the clever eye and beak area are stand outs. The wings, however, are a thing of beauty. They’re a terrific combo of flexible tubes, small wrenches and a variety of blue Technic pins and 1×1 round plates to create the wing feathers. The lavender grass pieces and purple antennae make for a nice finisher as tail feathers. They body and silhouette of the bird are quite nice as well and really bring the entire model together as a cohesive whole.
In the northern United States, at least, one of the first signs of spring is when the robins return. It is a day much beloved, a turning point when the cold and snow is gone and flowers are about to bloom. Of course, in many places the robins never actually leave, and snow never really comes, so it is less exciting, but I know as a kid growing up in Minnesota I loved to see that first robin. So, since it is spring where I live, and needing an idea for a contest entry, I (Benjamin Stenlund) built a robin coming back to the newly-hatched chicks in her nest. I am quite pleased with how it turned out, with the adult bird poised in mid-air with her flight feathers extended, feet ready to grasp the edge of the nest; and I think the nest itself turned out well, too.
The adult robin was fun to make, even if it is awful fiddling with those wings; they stay together just fine unless you jostle them, but moving the model from my building table to my photography station required some rebuilding. A round plate with bar built into her tail fits into a dinosaur neck twig to hold her in the air, just off the nest. The hardest part was the face and trying different solutions for the beak; I wanted to be able to put a worm in her mouth, but it would not look right with the parts I had, so I left it out and just used the spike. Lots of flex tubing went into the nest, but it was worth it for the un-LEGOy, organic shape of it. And when I ran out of flex tube, I used oars and blunderbusses and a variety of spikes and whips. To maximize the spring feeling, I added some flowers; perhaps cherry blossoms, maybe apple, or whatever pink flower you like to see on trees! I know it makes me want to get out of the basement where I build and go take a walk, at least.
Like bird builds? Here’s a sparrow and an owl for your viewing pleasure.
With all the time I have been spending at home lately, I find myself paying more attention to the birds that live in my neighborhood, from feeding a family of crows in my backyard to listening to the calls and songs of feathered friends of all shapes and sizes. This tiny LEGO sparrow by Luis Peña is quite a lovely model, and very expressive. Luis shapes the wings with quarter tiles and that flat tail captures the look of the real-life inspiration, the Rufous-collared sparrow.
If you enjoyed this bird, be sure to check out more recent birds from Luis on his flicker page
While stuck at home in quarantine or self-isolation, people need fun activities to pass the time. One popular activity is building LEGO sets and designing new creations. If you don’t have LEGO to build with, you can still appreciate other people’s creations online, like Mihai Marius Mihu’s wise owl. And once you’re done appreciating it, this LEGO owl has a new activity for you, read a book! Well, assuming you can get it out from under his sharp talons. I absolutely love the use of 1×2 slopes as the plumage. The waves they’re arranged in makes the owls chest look especially fluffy.
I’m always stoked to see how much can be represented with so little. Micro builds always seem easy and gives me feeling of “Why didn’t I think of that??” but in fact, they’re a lot harder to pull off than you’d think, in getting something represented appropriately with the limited number of bricks on hand. The Lesser Adjutant is a species of the stork family found mostly in the regions of Southeast Asia, and Malaysian builder Marco Gan captures the likeness of these birds eloquently, with each made up of just ten LEGO elements.
Need a pet? Build one out of LEGO. That’s what Oliver Becker did. Meet Fluffy. He’s Oliver’s new home companion. I imagine adoption fees and vet bills would be quite minimal and cleanup is as easy as tossing a few extra pieces into the unsorted bin. His expression is quite endearing and the grass blade plume on his head is some good parts use right there. I’m loving the old elbow hinges as feet. And the best part is this bird won’t rat you out to the cops like other birds I’ve known. Allegedly. I’m speaking on behalf of a friend, that is. Nevermind that, just check out some of Oliver’s other builds that have tickled our funny bone.
Guys, have you ever seen a Eurasian Pygmy Owl? If you haven’t, you need to look it up because they are one of the most adorable animals on the planet. Between their tiny stature and sweet expressions, these little predators swoop in and snatch your heart. This LEGO version is built by none other than the incredible Eero Okkonen. It’s a slight departure from some of the characters he’s known for, but this bird is just as lovely. How can you resist that little face?
If you’d like to see more owls, check out this fierce flyer and these builds of Hedwig.
A LEGO builder who goes by the name Cezium has built something that gives new meaning to the term “angry birds”. He tells us the H-301 Autonomous Reconnaissance Units are designed for scouting missions and are often deployed on the battlefield acting as forward observers that relay information to units stationed at the rear. Thermal imaging and night vision also ensures consistent efficacy in locating enemy troops. While he makes no mention of it in his write-up, I’m going to go ahead and assume it has some bombing capabilities as well. Like when you wear a nice new shirt or when you have just washed the car. Consider your picnic ruined!
I love the sets in the Unikitty! LEGO theme, but I don’t know much of anything about the show. I do know there are some distinctive looking characters in there…and that lead to the existence of some “hard to find another use for” pieces. For example, there’s this piece from the Hawkodile figure. It’s often lumped in with other “modified plate”, but that doesn’t really do it justice. I guess you can’t expect a whole new classification for “beak and sunglasses combo plate.” What you can expect, thankfully, is that a builder like Koala Yummies will take that oddball part and make something new and fun with it.
I’m old, so this build reminds me a lot of Mr. Owl from the 1980’s Tootsie Pop commercials. But, clearly, this bird has no time for idle questions about the longevity of candy.