A Bird Flies Into a Bar

In Norway’s latest melodrama, there are fewer tears, more tweets. 

Two strangers meet at a bar. They flirt. They squabble. They move in together and start a family. 

This is the story of Silje and Pål, Norway’s celebrity Blue Tits. They owe their fame to Piip-Show, a live webcast by the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation that drew thousands of viewers a day after it launched in March (http:// www.nrk.no/piipshow). Even the country’s crown princess got hooked.

Artist and bird enthusiast Magne Klann is the mastermind behind the spectacle. He and illustrator Lars Aurtande teamed up to build a bird-friendly, bird-sized replica of the Java Espressobar in Oslo, Norway, as well as a honeymoon suite/nesting box for Silje and Pål. Once Klann and Aurtande laid out the decor, the camera started rolling. The cast included wild woodpeckers, nuthatches, and hawfinches that flit on and off the set as they please. “The creatures got to live their lives,” Klann says. “We just built around them.”

A show without a script is bound to get rowdy, especially when the actors are so untamed. Tensions ran high one day when a pair of magpies began to brawl. On another episode, Ester the squirrel crashed the set and even took a bite out of the bar. (Despite the on-camera evidence, she was never formally charged.) Klann eventually repaired the set, taking note that cardboard and wood aren’t squirrel-proof.

For all the drama, the show ended on a happy note: Silje and Pål’s chicks grew up and flew the coop. Klann and Aurtande are now working on a children’s book chronicling the lives of the Blue Tit starlets. As for the show, the question on all our minds: Will there be a season two?