Bird's FarmJames "Jim" Whitfield Bird (1927 - 2023)
About the Artist/Site
Jim Bird (1926-2023) was an artist from Forkland, Alabama, who made sculptural creatures and whimsical designs from hay and metal since 1993, with the purpose of making “something for bored drivers to look at” after being inspired by the malfunctions of his hay baler.
Along his stretch of farmland along the Demopolis Highway in Alabama, one could find a caterpillar, reindeer, a ship navigating (hay) water, the B&O Railroad engine, Kilroy, an alarm clock, a spider, a rabbit, and many other creations. His three posts with cutout letters for the phrase “Acta Non Verba” were the first sign drivers should slow down along that stretch of road to see what idea he’d most recently brought to life. Over time, there have been over 80 creations.
Best known is his Tin Man, a sculpture that, at $50, cost almost ten times the amount of each of his other creations, thanks largely to the aluminum paint used. With bathtub for feet, a body of 55-gallon drums, a fuel tank, and a red heart that reads “Jim loves Lib,” a message for his wife, the 32-foot-tall sculpture rises above the field, beckoning visitors who come not only from other areas of rural Alabama, but from all over the world.
Something of a renaissance man, Jim Bird was a musician and lauded as a master storyteller. He had numerous interests, including renovating important historical structures, caring for his cattle farm, and he was admired for his generous spirit by the community; for 40 years, he captained the lead boat for "Christmas on the River”' in Demopolis.
The family plans to continue their annual “May Hay Day,” when they invite friends and others who appreciate Jim Bird and his art environment to help maintain the existing sculptures and build new ones.
–Ginger Ann Brook, 2023
farm equipment, found objects, paint
Map & Site Information
Forkland, Alabama, 36740 us
Latitude/Longitude: 32.6430538 / -87.8709963