Starlings (Draw-a-Bird Day)
It is night &
it’s snowing & starlings
fill the trees above us, so many it seems
the leaves sing. I can’t see them
until they rise together at some hidden signal
& hold the shape of the tree for a moment
–Nick Flynn, from “Father Outside”
After I finished the starling above I was really unhappy with the background. It seemed too timid for the bird I had drawn, so I cut it out. Which turned out to be a good thing, because I could then play with it–first I put it on top of a paper mailing envelope I had opened and painted on and wasn’t sure what to do with.
It also looks fine on either plain black or white. This bird was done in Neocolors.
Starling was the next bird on my childhood bird list. My first attempt was a pencil drawing, done with the new pencils my daughter got me for my birthday. The colors in the set were perfect.
And how could I do starlings without attempting a murmuration? For that, I watercolored a sunset and started stitching birds. The good thing about a deadline is that I needed to call it finished for today. I love to embroider, and could have kept stitching until the sky was filled with birds…
Nick Flynn is a poet from Boston, who often examines family relationships in his work. You can read the entire poem “Father Outside” here. It is both stark and beautiful.
Starlings are one of the most commonly seen street birds in New York, along with pigeons and sparrows. They are not native to the United States; legend has it that they were introduced into Central Park in the 1890s, because the American Acclimatization Society decided that all the birds mentioned by Shakespeare should live in the United States. I first really took notice of them because one of my apartments had windows across from the roof of the building next door, and the starlings used to sit on the railing every morning and go through their amazingly wide repertoire of songs. They are wonderful mimics.
But enough from me: put a link to YOUR birds in the comments section, and Nina and I will do a summary later in the week.