Bill McHugh creates kinetic sculptures that are driven by natural forces like wind, sun, water, squirrels or even birds!
Keeping the sculptures running literally costs peanuts — or birdseed, as the case may be. The Swirl-a-Squirrel runs on 30 peanuts a day, McHugh estimates. All combined, he figures he goes through 2,000 peanuts per week, or a 50-pound bag every three weeks.
But as he has refined them, he has also incorporated other elements. The bird-oriented one he calls “The Hitchcock” works this way: as many as 32 birds can land on the tiny metal cups that are spaced around a wheel. If they do, that sets a second wheel in motion; on it, other cups dip into a reservoir of water at the bottom and are carried up until they empty into a basin at the top. Then the water trickles down into the bottom reservoir and the process begins again.
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