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Draw a Bird Day: Nuthatch

upside down
the world becomes new–
balancing
body mind
opened into new visions
enlarged perpectives

One weekend sitting on campus with our coffee and tea, my daughter and I were surrounded by birds. A mockingbird sang a complicated repertoire of songs for about a half hour, blue jays and cardinals visited, crow got in a word or two, and there were lots of sparrows–at least we assumed all the small birds were sparrows–until one started going up and then head down around a tree trunk. Sparrows definitely don’t do that.

When I looked it up in my birdbook at home, I discovered it was a white breasted nuthatch. They like to forage in the bark for insects, and even cache seeds in the crevices. They are quite common in the United States, although I don’t recall ever noticing one before.

I had found my subject for draw a bird day, and wrote a shadorma to accompany the art for Colleen’s #TankaTuesday, poet’s choice.

Stellar’s Jay (Draw a Bird Day)

hawk’s cry
hungry birds scatter
blue wings appear
a raucous throng
feasting

A gogyohka for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday, poet’s choice.

I’ve been hearing blue jays everywhere I go for the last month. Since I’ve already featured blue jays, I decided to draw and paint its West Coast relative, the Stellar’s Jay. Like all jays, they are excellent mimics, and imitate hawks to scare other birds away from food they want to eat. They also pretend to be dogs, cats, squirrels and chickens.

Stellar Jays prefer dense coniferous wooded habitats, but being scavengers and opportunists, have adjusted well to the encroachment of humans.

Loggerhead Shrike: Draw a Bird Day

butcherbird–
we find your habits
distasteful–
twisting necks,
impaling your prey on thorns–
killing to survive

preferring
our own destructive
impulses–
too often
disconnected from earth–
we pull life apart

The Loggerhead Shrike, also known as butcherbird or thornbird, is a medium sized songbird that acts like a raptor.  With a short hooked beak, but lacking the talons of a true bird of prey, it hunts in similar ways, diving from an elevated perch or hovering and flushing its victims.  It then impales its food on thorns or barbed wire.  It can kill prey larger than itself by spearing the head or neck and twisting at a very high speed.  Sounds gruesome, no?  And many of the reference photos I looked at showed it either consuming or impaling its next meal–amphibians, insects, lizards, small mammals, small birds.

But it’s part of the food chain.  And that’s how it obtains it’s food.

Loggerhead Shrikes, like many birds, have become endangered as their North American habitats shrink or are destroyed.  Climate change and pesticides have also caused populations to decline.

How did I post this?  Several people suggested going into the WP Administration page where you can do a normal post without dealing with the blocks.  I looked at the block again briefly, but without success.

Still in the midst of moving, but should be back posting (as long as I can do it this way) in a couple weeks.

Asian Dwarf Kingfisher (Draw a Bird Day)

dwarf kingfisher blk s

tiny wings perch, still–
suddenly swoop downward, flash
trail of jeweled light

tiny wings
sudden swoop trails flash
jeweled light

wings flash
suddenly
jewels

It’s the 8th of the month again!  Draw a Bird Day, and Poet’s Choice for Colleen’s #TankaTuesday.  This month I’ve taken my haiku and reduced it twice.  This is a good exercise for any poem I find.

dwarf kingfisher wht 2s

I chose to draw the Asian Dwarf Kingfisher this month because of its colors.  It’s a tiny bird–5″–one of 114 species of kingfishers.  I did not realize this species was so large and varied.  All nest in burrows and hunt by swooping down from a perched position.  Many hunt fish–that was my impression of them–but may also, like the dwarf kingfisher, eat insects, earthworms, and small amphibians.

Dwarf kingfishers, like many birds, are under threat of extinction due to loss of habitat.  Their main predators are foxes, raccoons, and snakes.

dwarf kingfisher wht 1s

Nina gave me the set of brush markers that I used experimentally in doing the last 2 drawings (the one on black was done in colored pencil).  I am still trying to convince her to start posting again.  She’s been doing some painting…maybe by next Draw a Bird Day.  In the meantime, you can find me most of the time at https://kblog.blog/.

Crested Caracara (draw a bird day)

crested caracara combo s

appearances tell
stories, actions shout, defy
classification

I bought a bird book at a library sale intending to use the photos for collage.  Looking through, I was drawn to the same bird in two different sections of the book: the crested caracara.  The Cornell Bird Lab says it “looks like a hawk, behaves like a vulture, and is technically a falcon”.  Hence my senryu, for Colleen’s weekly challenge with poet’s choice of words.  Apply to humans as needed.

 

crested caracara wax paper s

Crested Caracaras live from the Southern United States down through Central and South America.  They are also known as the Mexican eagle, and are the subject of folklore throughout the region.  The only falcon that collects material to build a nest, caracaras are carnivorous scavengers, who will also hunt for small prey by running on or digging in the ground if necessary.

crested caracara 2s

I painted my image first on wax paper using acrylic, intending to do a monoprint, which did not work–the paint was not dense or thick enough.  I then painted it on rice paper, also using acrylic.  This made the paper shrink in places, but worked better than I expected.  I photographed both images, then superimposed the wax paper over the rice paper–strangely they fit together well, considering I did no pencil drawing for either, but just painted each.

Once again, Draw a Bird Day, the 8th of each month, is serving as a placeholder here at MeMadTwo while Nina takes an extended break. I’m hoping she’ll be back in soon.  In the meantime, you can find me (Kerfe) at https://kblog.blog/.

crested caracara close up s

Cedar Waxwing (Draw-a-Bird Day)

cedar waxwing s

masked harlequin, air
dancer, choreographer
of parallel flight–

what secrets hold the patterns
of your synchronicity?

I chose the cedar waxwing for my bird this month because of its beautiful and varied coloration.  I wanted to do some drawing with my neocolors, blending difference shades to create multicolored effects.

I drew the bird paired, because waxwings are social birds, and often exhibit food-sharing behavior, as well as other complex rituals including the synchronized flight of large flocks.  They are native to North and Central America, and migrate in unpredictable patterns that follow berries and other sweet fruit, their main dietary source.  They like sugar so much they can get drunk from gorging on plentiful supplies of fruit.  They also eat insects.

Although the information I read said they are not often seen alone, I did come across a single waxwing on a tree by the path where I was walking near my brother’s house in North Carolina a few years ago.  They are distinctive and beautiful birds.

I also wanted to note that I have 3 pieces of art in The Raw Art Review Summer 2019.  You can see it here; the reblog would not work.

Once again, Draw a Bird Day, the 8th of each month, is serving as a placeholder here at MeMadTwo while Nina takes an extended break. I’m hoping she’ll be back in 2020.  In the meantime, you can find me (Kerfe) at https://kblog.blog/.

 

Draw a Bird Day: Short-eared Owl

flying owl photo s

following behind–
owl-shadow, like a prism
scattering the dark

I did a few of these brush-painted flying owls and all of them looked very fishlike to me.  I usually think of owls as catlike, but in air they swim.  Short-eared owls in flight are described as “moth-like”.

pencil owl photo s

Short-eared owls have wide distribution, occurring on all continents except Australia and Antarctica.  The map I saw for North America showed wide declines in coastal populations due to loss of habitat, although those in the center of the United States and Canada seemed stable.

owl color photo s

They eat mainly rodents, and are in turn food for raptors and larger mammals because they nest on the ground.  Most active from dusk through dawn, they fly low over fields looking for prey.

Also for Colleen’s #TankaTuesday poet’s choice of words.  It’s becoming a regular for Draw-a-Bird Day.

Once again, Draw a Bird Day, the 8th of each month, is serving as a placeholder here at MeMadTwo while Nina takes an extended break.  I’m missing her, aren’t you?

In the meantime, you can find me (Kerfe) at https://kblog.blog/.

 

Draw-a-Bird Day: Pileated Woodpecker

pileated woodpecker s

Can you hear it? Earth’s
heartbeat chants in rhythm with
the drumming of birds.

I’ve been meaning to draw a woodpecker for awhile.  I painted this without a sketch, so the proportions are a little off, but I think it captures the essence–the colors and the crest and long beak.  I also put white on white lines for trees in the background.  Pileated Woodpeckers prefer to live in old growth forests, nesting in dead trees, and their numbers declined as forests were cleared in the 19th century.  But their numbers seem to be increasing again, as they adapt to new environments.

At my last residence I would see and hear red-headed woodpeckers. I haven’t seen any here, but on many weekends the African drummers are in residence at the historic mansion around the corner.  Both man and bird connecting to earth’s rhythms.

Once again, Draw a Bird Day, the 8th of each month, is serving as a placeholder here at MeMadTwo while Nina takes an extended break.  Come back soon Nina, and bring some birds!

In the meantime, you can find me (Kerfe) at https://kblog.blog/.

Draw a Bird Day: Golden Winged Warbler

golden warbler 2s

tiny wanderer–
shrinking woodlands, flash of gold–
following your voice

The golden winged warbler is a tiny (5″) bird that is among the most endangered on a long list of endangered birds.  The population has been reduced by 2/3 in the last 50 years, mostly due to habitat loss in both breeding grounds (the largest population breeds in Michigan) and wintering habitat (in Central and South America–a long migration away).  They are shy, but vocal.

Once again, Draw a Bird Day, the 8th of each month, is serving as a placeholder here at MeMadTwo while Nina takes an extended break.  Come back soon Nina!

In the meantime, you can find me (Kerfe) at https://kblog.blog/.

 

Removing the Obstacles

removing the obstacles s

Inspired by Claudia McGill’s post about revisiting her snippets, I visited the Collage Box Oracle for this response to the Myths of the Mirror February prompt, below.

As with the Magnetic Poetry Oracle, you can have your own ideas, but in the end you need to follow where the word box leads.

Close your eyes and count–
a circumnavigation
out the window and

between the lines to beyond…
dream what’s inside…come to life