Art in Birds at Green Island

Art on the Landscape

In the spring of 2021, local artists and bird enthusiasts Dennis Arendt and Shel Neal brought a little extra life to Tree Swallow bird boxes out at Green Island. Building on a decade long project to provide nesting habitat for this migratory bird, the 16 new painted boxes celebrate art and nature. 

Each birdhouse pays tribute to famous artists, mimicking their style with free expression, others are abstract creations. Each box has a story to tell and we invite community members to come enjoy the Art in Birds self-guided tour during open days on the second Saturday of each month.


Tree Swallows at Green Island

Located at the confluence of the McKenzie and Willamette Rivers, Green Island contains some of the least altered fish and wildlife habitats in the Willamette Valley. this specail area provides essential habitat for numerous species including more than 150 documented bird speces that find refuge here through the year. At more than 1,100 acres, Green Island offers and opportunity to make and incredible conservation impact on a landscape scale. 

In 2020, more than 550 Tree Swallows successfully hatched, grew, and left the nest in boxes placed and cared for on the Island. Tree swallows lay their eggs in early May with 5-6 eggs per nest. The young leave the nest about five weeks later and a second nesting begins in late June. On Green Island, Western Bluebirds also occupy four to five of the boxes and compete with the swallows. 

Building for the Birds

For more than a decade, volunteer Kit Larsen has been building, monitoring, and documenting Tree Swallow nesting activities on Green Island. Assisted by friend Jim Ott, more than 50 tree swallow boxes are cared for annually. These community science projects enhance conservation work, connecting people to place in meaningful ways. 

McKenzie River Trust Board President, Jim Regali, enjoys the first of 16 boxes on the tour titled “Swallows.” Painted by local artist Dennis Arendt, this box pays tribute to the migratory explorations of the Tree Swallow Tachycineta bicolor.