Monday, October 18, 2010

Sketching Birds in the Backyard

Sounds easy enough.  But there is definitely a shift between photographing birds and sketching them.  And another gigantic shift between sketching from a photo and trying to capture birds while they're moving around!  So what you see below is today's attempt.  My solution for everything that doesn't come easily....practice!
Whey all my busy hummingbird activity ended earlier in the month (last observed visit October 11th), I took all but one hummingbird feeder down, hung a suet basket with homemade suet, a sunflower seed feeder and put out a plate with a mix of each.  The bird-y word got around fast.

It is such a joy to watch these birds--cardinals, mockingbirds, chickadees, titmice, wrens, downies, nuthatches--at the bath and the feeder.  If you sit and observe for a while, you can tell which are the juveniles by their behavior, especially at the bird bath.  I had the joy of watching young chickadees trying to figure out how to drink without getting wet.

My bird bath sits crooked.  No matter how many times I straighten it and pile rocks around it, it always shifts. On this occasion a cardinal was perched drinking and two chickadee juveniles, one after the other, ended up in a spot where the water had shifted away from the edge.  It was a chuckle to see them stretch, nearly tip over, and flutter to upright themselves and keep from falling into the water.  They next landed on the opposite side to drink.  I mean, you bathe only when you want to, right?  
And I got this special mockingbird treat during another time I sat on the patio to observe.  What a hoot, to watch this mocker grab the back ball shaped tops that hold the feeder together.  At first I thought he/she was after an insect.  But then when he tried more than one angle, and moved on to try each one, I realized it was a juvenile trying to see if that big, fat, black, berry-looking thing was tasty!


My response to that stare, "I promise, I didn't do it!"

My Loggerhead painting was interrupted by my three-day exhibit at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park the last weekend of September. I'll get back to the painting soon and share what I've learned about this special species.

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Welcome! I am glad to hear your comments, questions and feedback! Vickie

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