I’m cuckoo for… birds!
So naturally, my second cuckoo clock design is a clock for bird lovers. A departure from the traditional Black Forest cuckoo clock, the Backyard Birds Cuckoo Clock is simpler. The clock box itself is intended to look like a bird feeder or house, setting the stage for the birds. It’s all about the birds!
The Backyard Birds Cuckoo Clock started as a line drawing and some photos that I sent to the Schneider factory in Germany.
I sent Schneider photos of our most common feeder birds. Here’s a photograph of the first prototype. (You can see more photos here.) They nailed the clock — love the colors! But the European-looking birds wouldn’t work. To Google I went looking for carved birds to show them the style I was after. I found some wonderful antiques and then…
A small photo of a charming nuthatch popped up. I clicked on the link which took me to Etsy where I found more wonderful birds by the carver of the nuthatch. Yes, each of the species I was looking for for my clock. They were (and are) simply perfect. Could I possibly have American made birds on the clock? I contacted Lance at Olde World Carvers and held my breath thinking hand carved birds would make the clock impossibly expensive. It turned out American made was doable. Yeah!
The good folks at Schneider sent Lance the prototype clock. Lance carved the birds to size, placed them on the clock, and sent me a picture. I nearly cried!
Next, Lance sent the clock on the next leg of its journey to Keith The Clock Doctor in Cleveland, Georgia. He is located fittingly, right by the alpine town of Helen, Georgia where he used to have his shop. Keith hooked the birds up to the animation and sent me a video. I did cry that time.
Two days later I drove up to pick it up. There it was on his wall when I walked in his shop. My initial reaction was that it is even better in person. I was reminded that that is exactly what I have heard more than once when a customer receives a Quilt Shop Cuckoo Clock. So I had the same experience!
As is the case with every cuckoo clock, the cuckoo emerges to sing on the hour and half hour. The extra charm of an animated cuckoo clock is that the cuckoo sets off even more magic. In this case, the Blue Bird feeds the “baby”, (which, come to think of it, is appropriate as some species of cuckoo are parasitic) and the Cardinal “pecks” for seed.
The first batch of Backyard Birds Cuckoo Clocks arrived here in Georgia just before Christmas 2017. I had just received my annual packet for Project Feederwatch which was sitting on my desk overlooking the bird feeders hanging in the big windows of my office. Aha! I could donate a portion of each clock sold to Cornell Labs in support of their fabulous “citizen science” and bird conservation projects. Perfect! Now, onto marketing the clock to spread smiles on the faces of bird lovers…