UPDATE: A reader informed me that this bird and the surrounding work is just part of the immense and fabulous output of Barry George. I should have known that, but I didn’t, and I’m looking forward to meeting him soon.

One of many, many reasons I love the East Side. I frequent Texas Coffee Traders, which is on East 4th, just down from the Scoot Inn, one of the oldest bars in Austin, almost as old as Scholz’ Garden. Anyway, almost every time I go over there, and that’s several times a week, I see something new that makes me smile. You may already know about this scrap metal sculpture, standing in a yard that’s full of the stuff, conveniently situated a block and a half from the metal scrap yard. If I’m not mistaken, this is a gray crowned crane of Africa, Balearica regulorum, the flesh and blood version being probably the showiest of all crane species. There’s also a sub-species, the black crowned crane, which is the only crane that roosts in trees. Like our whooping crane, Grus americana, the crowned cranes are endangered.These African cranes grow up to 3.3 feet in height. Whoopers get up to five feet, the better so they can peck your eyes out.

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