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Maryland phone makes bird calls, not phone calls

By
Ben Hooper
Artist David Schulman tests out the Bird Calls Phone, a modified payphone he installed in Takoma Park, Md., that plays bird calls instead of making phone calls. Photo courtesy of the City of Takoma Park
Artist David Schulman tests out the Bird Calls Phone, a modified payphone he installed in Takoma Park, Md., that plays bird calls instead of making phone calls. Photo courtesy of the City of Takoma Park

Aug. 16 (UPI) -- A payphone attracting attention at the side of a Maryland road doesn't make outgoing calls -- but it does make bird calls.

The City of Takoma Park commissioned musician and audio producer David Schulman to create an interactive public art installation, and he came up with the Bird Calls Phone, a payphone modified to play the sounds of birds instead of make phone calls.

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"It's a payphone that's hot-wired so that when you go up and press any button instead of making a call to humans you hear the calls of local birds," Schulman told WJLA-TV. "I found a practically mint condition payphone on eBay."

Members of the public said they were surprised when they approached the unusual phone.

"I picked it up and I was like, ooh, I can dial 1-800-COLLECT but it was just birds," Rachel Carver said. "It's the perfect piece of artwork that doesn't draw big attention. You've got to come up to it to really appreciate it."

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