Free enamel pin when you buy any two Atlas Obscura products. Shop now.

This Artist Designed Pigeon Shoes So She Could Befriend Actual Pigeons

Throwing food may have worked better.

When the Japanese artist Keiko Ohata decided to befriend a group of pigeons, she knew exactly how to do it: design and wear a pair of shoes that would be close to indistinguishable from the real birds. The pigeons, in theory, would assume she is one of their own, and they wouldn’t be afraid of her.

Ohata shared her process for making the shoes on the website Nifty, where she’s posted many DIY projects over the years, including a bird’s nest for humans made of colored hangers.

Using felt, styrofoam, and wool, Ohata built two pigeons and attached them to a pair of high heels, covering her toes with the birds’ tail feathers. The pigeon heads face out behind her, ready to lure genuine birds.

Last week, she put the shoes to the test at a park in Tokyo.

When pigeons gathered nearby, a man beside her started throwing food for them. The birds rushed after it, paying no attention to Ohata’s shoes despite her gentle foot movements.

Pigeons may not have flocked to her footwear, but Ohata’s heels have certainly made a fashion statement.

Video Wonders are audiovisual offerings that delight, inspire, and entertain. Have you encountered a video we should feature? Email ella@atlasobscura.com.