The New Flapping Bird

The origami flapping bird is a classic model, probably The Classic Model, and provides plenty of technical challenges for a beginner with a great payoff. Quick to make, fun to demonstrate, and a very familiar model to most people. But it is not the ONLY flapping bird in existence.

John M. Nordquist created a exquisite flapping bird in the 1950s or early 60s which shared no roots with the classic other than the square of paper, and very little is heard – by me – of this model. I do not see pictures on Instagram or the net, and even though it is a humble flapping bird, this lovely model deserves wider recognition.

There are so many good things to say about this model, the #NFB, but I will start with the shape, which reminds me of Ligia Montoya’s Tropical birds with their elegant tails, and this bird truly looks like its flying or taking off. The wings arc beautifully as they open and close, and the awkward peak of the back doesn’t stick out as much as the classic. The classic’s wings behave differently depending on where the model is held while pulling its tail back, whereas the NFB behaves entirely consistently and does not require the wings to be folded down at all as the classic sometimes benefits from. The NFB also sits beautifully on a flat surface, it’s extremely elegant. I have nothing but deep love for the classic as it’s my go-to model when someone asks to see something, but if there was any justice, this model, the New Flapping Bird, would sit alongside it in the gallery of classic origami.

If there is any interest, I may demonstrate this model on Instagram Live. You would need a square of paper, and I will fold it from scratch.

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