The Fix Is In

Birds now safe at light rail station

By Cathryn Rakich
April 2024

Public artwork at the Light Rail Station on Franklin Boulevard is no longer a death trap for birds.

Sculptor David Best made permanent modifications to his rusted steel archway in late February that will prevent birds, including pigeons and birds of prey, from entering the structure with no way out.

“This was an accident that birds were trapped in the sculpture and died,” Best says. “This was not intentional.”

The Wildlife Care Association of Sacramento reported the problem last September to Regional Transit when a great horned owl was trapped at the bottom of the 20-foot arch.

As Inside Sacramento reported in January, firefighters cut and bent back the heavy metal scrollwork to release the owl, who was euthanized due to his injuries.

Because the archway is commissioned artwork and publicly funded through Sacramento’s Art in Public Places program, Regional Transit reports it could not modify the structure without working with the artist.

As a temporary fix, SacRT zip tied safety netting across gaps.

Best says he was out of the country, which caused delays in making permanent modifications. He also had to secure a contract with SacRT, get insurance for the project, design panels to fit the structure and wait for metal fabrication at a steel facility in Petaluma, where the artist lives.

A large gap at the top is now sealed and steel mesh lines the archway. “There is no way birds are going to get into the piece,” Best says.

If they do, he installed padlocked “doors” at the bottom of the structure that will rust over time. “Transit authority has the keys,” he adds.

Cathryn Rakich can be reached at Follow us on Facebook and Instagram: @insidesacramento.

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