For the last couple of weekends we’ve been taking part in The Big Hoot event in and around Birmingham. Those of you who have been in or passing through the city in the last few weeks may have notice the appearance of some large, extravagantly decorated owls about the place.
Since the 20th July, 89 big hoot owls, which have been decorated by various artists (some local, some national, some amateur and some famous), have nested at various locations throughout the city. They have been joined by 122 little hoot owlets which have been decorated by local schools.
The idea of The Big Hoot is to make a mass participation public art event which forms a trail across the whole of Birmingham transforming the streets, parks and public spaces into a free art gallery. After the end of the event the owls will be auctioned off with the money raised going to Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
To help you track down the various owls there is an app available for Android or iPhone which has integrated mapping and owl scanning so that you can find and tick them off as you meet each one. For the less tech savvy you can also download and print a map or pick one up from The Big Hoot shop in The Great Western Arcade (as well as at other locations throughout the city).
In the past we’ve taken part in similar event’s elsewhere in the country; we’ve tracked down Paddington Bears in London, Gorilla’s in Torquay, Superlambananas in Liverpool and it’s great that Birmingham has finally got in on the action.
One of the best things about the event has been seeing so many people getting involved and taking part. Every time I’ve been near an owl there’s a constant stream of people photographing, scanning and plotting their course to the next one. It’s helped to create a really nice atmosphere about town over the last few weeks.
We’ve also been to some bits of the city that we’ve not been to before as well as re-familiarised ourselves with some long forgotten parts of town. The owls are everywhere from Sutton Coldfield (currently renamed Sutton Owlfield) in the north to the Likey Hills in the south, with a huge scattering within easy walking distance of each other around the city centre.
There’s some really great designs including an Ozzy Osbourne designed bird on New Street, a Dr Who Tardis owl at Snow Hill and a Harry Potter owl at Sutton Empire Cinema.
As well as it being a lovely time out with the family it also gave me a great opportunity to have a play with my new Fuji X100t camera (all the pictures in this blog post were taken with it). I have to say how much I love the little Fuji, the image quality is outstanding and it’s such a joy to use (I’ll be wring a separate blog post about the camera at a later date).
If you’d like to get involved in The Big Hoot (and I can thoroughly recommend it) then you have until the 27th September 2015 before the owls take flight for the auction room!