Sunday, February 26, 2012

America's Hooded Crane

A secretive bird whose breeding territories were only first discovered in 1974, the Hooded Crane is described as one of the least understood large birds in the world. And that is primarily because it nests in the remote and inaccessible sphagnum bogs scattered through the taiga in southeastern Russia, and in China, in forested wetlands in mountain valleys.
I saw my first Hooded Crane at the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, Wisconsin, in 2005.  And I saw my second at the Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge in Tennessee in December of 2011.  What was a Hooded Crane doing in the southeastern United States?  No one knows for certain.  But, there is every indication that this individual is wild, and possibly wandered too far west of Siberia, migrating into the United States following sandhill cranes.
Above, a group of Greater Sandhill Cranes feeding near the Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge in Tennessee.  The Hooded Crane stands only 3.3 ft tall while the Greater Sandhill Crane may be 4-5 ft tall.

In February, 2012, this Asian crane visitor left Tennessee and was next seen staging with sandhill cranes at the Goose Pond Wildlife Management Area in Green County, Indiana.  It stayed approximately four days and was last seen February 12th.  Birders are watching for it in more northerly sandhill crane staging areas.

I have recently written a three-part series on the endangered Hooded Crane, threats to its native habitat, and its visit to the southeast on my companion blog, Vickie Henderson Art.  The series, entitled, America's Hooded Crane, includes beautiful images taken by Chinese researcher, Dr. Guo Yumin, of the Hooded Crane on its breeding territory, along with slides explaining how to distinguish individual hooded canes.  

Links and Resources:

Read more about Dr Guo Yumin's work on the Grus Monacha International Aid website.
Chinese ornithologist, Guo Yumin, win's Whitley Award for his research on the Hooded Crane.
WFN--Whitley Fund for Nature
Hooded Crane--International Crane Foundation
Sandhill Crane--International Crane Foundation

On this blog:  Sandhill Cranes and Art and Whooping cranes in watercolor

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Preview of My New Book! Red-shouldered Hawk Territory


My Red-shouldered hawk sketchbook will soon be in print!

I've combined my entire sketchbook of watercolor and ink illustrations with additional sketches and observation notes to create a book designed to both inspire and entertain.

Below you'll find a detailed description of the book and easy pre-order instructions!

Red-shouldered Hawk Territory, A Sketchbook Journey Through Nesting Season, is the chronicle of my experiences while sketching and observing a nesting pair of suburban Red-shouldered hawks.

Encountering these hawks quite by accident and in the unlikely circumstance of a business meeting, they immediately captured my intrigue with their acceptance of humans and their accessibility. Even as I embarked on this four-month journey, I never expected to witness the intimate behaviors I encountered, nor the surprising interactions that helped me strike the important balance between observation and interference.  

As much a book for the aspiring naturalist as the artist, Red-shouldered Hawk Territory will take you deep into the lives of these hawks and into the personal experiences, both delightful and frustrating, that transformed this endeavor into a journey of discovery.

I hope reading and browsing this journal will inspire your thoughts, stir questions, make you wonder what you would have done differently, and, hopefully, send you searching for your own observation opportunity with a favorite species.  

Red-shouldered Hawk Territory includes my sketchbook record
of observations plus additional sketches and notes as I observed this pair of hawks throughout a nesting season.  Sketches include the hawks in many circumstances, as well as, the suburban habitat in which they lived, and the many other species that inhabited Red-shouldered hawk territory.

This simple, 50-page, sketchbook-sized book is packed with full color illustrations and designed to both inspire and entertain the bird-loving artist in everyone!

"Few people have the opportunity to share their yards with Red-shouldered hawks.  But, for all of us, this story is an inspiring example of peaceful co-existence and the joys and rewards of sharing our home territories with wildlife." --Vickie Henderson

Available April 1, 2012 at Vickie Henderson Art

Ocean Trail at Rancho Palos Verdes Preserve, California--2015

Ocean Trail at Rancho Palos Verdes Preserve, California--2015

Joshua Tree National Forest, California, with son Chad and daughter Thuan--2015

Joshua Tree National Forest, California, with son Chad and daughter Thuan--2015
Photo credit: Thuan Tram

Bird banding with Mark Armstrong at Seven Islands State Birding Park - 2014

Bird banding with Mark Armstrong at Seven Islands State Birding Park - 2014
Photo courtesy of Jody Stone

Birds Close-up

Birds Close-up
Photo courtesy of Karen Wilkenson

Enjoying Gray Jays in Churchill, Manitoba

Enjoying Gray Jays in Churchill, Manitoba
Photo courtesy of Blue Sky Expeditions

A dog sled experience with Blue Sky Expeditions, Churchill, MB--2014

A dog sled experience with Blue Sky Expeditions, Churchill, MB--2014
Photo courtesy of Blue Sky Expeditions

Churchill, Manitoba--2014

Churchill, Manitoba--2014
Photo courtesy of Blue Sky

2014 Hummingbird Festival

2014 Hummingbird Festival
Photo courtesy of Jody Stone

Smithsonian National Zoo with one of my Whooping Crane art banners and son, John--2014

Smithsonian National Zoo with one of my Whooping Crane art banners and son, John--2014

Muir Woods on the Dipsea Trail at Stinson Beach, California--2014

Muir Woods on the Dipsea Trail at Stinson Beach, California--2014
Photo courtesy of Wendy Pitts Reeves

Checking out the gulls at Stinson Beach--2014

Checking out the gulls at Stinson Beach--2014
Photo courtesy of Wendy Pitts Reeves

Discovery Hike in Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska--2012

Discovery Hike in Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska--2012
Photo courtesy of Ruth Carter
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