B.I.R.D.S.

Plans for the B.I.R.D.S. hunt tourist promotion include:

The first of 19 bird sculptures and a mural addition placed in the downtown shopping district by May.

A website launched before that placement.

Copies of the poem containing clues to locations placed in the Summerville Visitor’s Center, 402 N. Main St., at local businesses and on the website.

SUMMERVILLE — The painted bunting about to perch in that alcove downtown won’t fly away, hopefully. It and 18 other life-size sculptures of birds that haunt the place are about to take up residence as tourist draws.

We’re talking species like a barred owl, pileated woodpecker, northern cardinal, Eastern bluebird, Mississippi kite — even a common grackle and Canada goose.

A 20th piece will be an addition to a mural.

The birds will be set in nooks and crannies of the shopping district around Hutchinson Square — not quite so out in the open.

The idea is to promote tourism by creating a walking Clue game for visitors to find the spots, following clues in a poem. It’s based on Greenville’s quirky Mice on Main promotion. It’s called Birds In Residence in Downtown Summerville.

“I felt it was something the town could get behind, people would really feel a sense of ownership in,” said Susan Frampton of Sculpture in the South.

The group is coordinating the promotion along with Audubon South Carolina and Summerville DREAM, a downtown revitalization group. The first piece is expected to go up within two months. We can’t tell you what or where it will be, but the clue is, “Don’t ask for WHOOOOOM the bell tolls?”

The promotion and poem are the brainchildren of Mike Dawson, Beidler Forest center director for Audubon. The groups are fundraising for the pieces, asking the town and local businesses to provide perches.

Now, if they can just get the birds to stay put.

“The challenge is going to be to locate them in as hard-to-vandalize a location as possible,” Dawson said.