Donation Plucks Avian Art From Harm

While they still lack a permanent resting place, the birds that have graced the SeaCliff Village shopping center in sculpture and mosaic for 22 years will not be destroyed to make way for a new development.

Officials with Shea Properties, the Walnut-based developer that plans to replace the aging Main Street strip mall with a commercial and residential complex, said they would foot the bill for preserving the avian artwork.

This week, they presented the city with a $210,000 check that will cover the cost of disassembling the collection of murals, mosaics and dioramas depicting coastal birds that artist Edward Carson Beall created in 1976.

A group of residents who formed the Save the Birds Project had been trying since December to find some way to pay for removing the birds from the path of bulldozers.

Shea Properties soon will begin work on a new 27-acre planned community, still to be called Seacliff Village, that will include a shopping center, housing and a senior care home.

Mayor Shirley S. Dettloff said the city is grateful for the gift.

"This has been a part of the history of Huntington Beach," she said.

"The donation ensures that this work will be saved for future generations."

The artwork will be stored until the SeaCliff Public Art Committee recommends where to display it, city officials said.

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