Santa Cruz County is for the birds. That’s not a criticism. It’s a compliment.
Literally and figuratively, birds are a major component of the Santa Cruz Tourism Council’s effort to draw visitors to the state’s smallest county. The area is well known as a birders’ hot spot, and that’s probably why birds of another feather have landed in 1o different locales. They are all sculptures, spread across the county at resorts, offices and parks as beacons that direct visitors to places of interest. The sculptures are varied. In species, they range from roadrunner to owl. In size, they range from a six-footer standing along to a hawk attached to a 15-foot steel beam. The materials used include scrap metal, clay, bronze, tin and ceramic.
One of the more unusual is “Bird Watcher,” which stands at the Amado Territory Inn. It’s a whimsical work that Artist David Voisard created from rusted car parts he found in junk yards. On the other hand, Marlene Knutson’s “Magnificent Turkey Vulture” features a delicate bronze head mounted on a body covered with copper features. It’s in the lobby of the Esplendor Resort in Rio Rico.
A small sign that gives directions to the next bird accompanies each sculpture. Maps of the “Trail of the Birds” are available at visitor centers and resorts throughout the county. For details, log on to www.toursantacruz.com or call the Tourism Council at (520) 398-0007.