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Bird of the Day 4/8/21

An angry looking bird from my collection. I didn’t get a chance to paint a new one; this is from a while ago.

Seeing a lot of birds but the most beautiful sight I saw was a larger red-tail hawk teaching two smaller ones how to fly. I wish I’d had my phone so I could have caught it. At least it’s in my memory.

Happy Draw a Bird Day!

Eagle Owl (draw a bird day)

spread your wings
carry the night in
silent flight

The eagle owl is both one of the largest and longest-lived owls. With wing spans up to 6 feet, it has no natural predators, although it is sometimes mobbed by crows. The leading causes of death– electrocution, hunting, and poisoning–are man-made.

Nesting on cliffs or rocky outcrops, it has a wide distribution throughout Europe and Asia. I love its binomial name–Bubo Bubo.

Eagle owls are solitary, territorial, and nocturnal. They can more often be heard, having a large number of vocalizations, than seen.

For Colleen’s #TankaTuesday, poet’s choice.

Draw a Bird 3/8/21

An owl wearing some medals on his coat is my bird for today.

More signs of spring such as little shoots starting to peek through. There are still big snow banks but they are gradually melting. Have a good week! Nina

Green Jay (Draw a Bird Day)

clever, curious–
your flashy loud mimicry
a family trait

Continuing my explorations of the Corvid family, I decided to collage and draw a green jay this month. Residents of the Texas borderlands, they are also found in Central and South America. Like all corvids, they are intelligent, adaptable, brash, and have a large variety of vocalizations, including imitating the calls of hawks to drive away food competitors. They also use sticks as tools to pry bark up to get to the insects underneath.

Green jays live and forage communally, in family groups. The populations are currently stable, although habitat destruction is a concern, particularly in Mexico, and around the proposed border wall to be built through the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge.

Red Knot/Moonbird (Draw a Bird Day)

Birds need no maps of the earth,
no compass to locate the forces
that pull and repel.
Their geography is larger
than what can be painted, written down.
Their landscape is contained inside
their very bones,
invisible roots woven through
the air.

Birds move on currents
of sun sky wind and water–
alert to the pauses,
the imperfections
in the movement of the light.
They hear the world
as it slumbers, as it awakens,
as it waits.
They have no need to build bridges
for crossing over.

Birds don’t need to mark their path,
to provide proof
of their connection to the cosmos
with signs or constructs.
Who they are
is part of their being.
The way is within
the first cell of
the first song of
the first particle of
dust from the first star.

I recently read an article about the red knot B95, nicknamed Moonbird. B95 is a banded bird that was both trapped and photographed through 20 years of migration between the tip of South America, where it winters, and the Arctic, where it summers and breeds, a distance of 9000 miles each way. B95 traveled enough miles to go to the moon and most of the way back–hence, Moonbird.

Considering the fact that one half of juvenile red knots dies during their first year’s mirgration, that is quite an accomplishment.

Red knots are robin-sized shore birds that have greyish feathers during their southern winters, but grow red feathers for the summer layover in the Arctic. As recently as 1995 there were over 150,000 red knots making the north-south-north trip, but half of the adult red knot population died between 2000-2002 due to climate change and human intrusions on their habitat. Of particular concern was the reduction of the horseshoe crab population in the tidal waters of the Delaware Bay, an important last feeding stopover before the final flight to the Arctic. Red knots time their migrations to coincide with the yearly egg-laying of horseshoe crabs, feeding on the eggs laid on the beaches. Horseshoe crabs are important to many other species in the bay as well, and scientists are working to restore this vital component of the ecosystem, which was dying due to overfishing and overdevelopment.

Red knots fly in acrobatic groups and perform evasive movements in unison meant to confuse predators like hawks. How do they “know” where to go? One theory is that they have an internal genetic flight map, but they are also known to respond to the position of the sun and the movements of the stars as they often fly all night. Red knots may also recognize both landmarks and magnetic fields. No wonder they have been called “a flying compass”

Moonbird was last spotted in 2014, 19 years after he was first caught and banded.

Red knots were the first bird ever listed under the Endangered Species Act.

Bird of the Day 1/9/21

Another painting on black paper-a random parrot.

It’s a chilly but sunny Saturday here in Northern New Jersey. Hoping everyone has a productive day today!

Draw a Bird Day: Warblers

tangled green
flashes of yellow
passing through

Last fall my daughter and I were sitting on Columbia’s campus, talking and drinking coffee and tea, when we noticed a tiny yellowish bird looking for insects in a tree nearby. It looked a lot like the wood warbler I’ve drawn, above.

We didn’t see it well enough to positively identify it, but a birder friend suggested from my description that it was a warbler. Many species migrate through the area, in addition to common local residents like the yellow warbler.

The Blackburnian Warbler can also be found in New York, but I haven’t been lucky enough to see one. I would like to watch the intricate aerial dances they perform when protecting their territories.

I first drew the yellow warbler by itself, and scanned it, as backgrounds are always a problem for me. I’m still not sure about this one, although I like the colors.

Conception (Reprise)

1
imagine
growing roots into
fertile ground

fertile ground
the protective cloak
of the earth

of the earth
talking to the moon
with stillness

with stillness
welcome the new year
imagine

2
always, earth
transitioning—life
rearranged
into new
patterns—open your arms wide–
inhale, welcoming

For Frank Tassone’s #haikai challenge for the New Year, and Colleen’s #tanka Tuesday challenge to write a poem of hope, I’ve written two variations of the same idea, and reprised a collage I did for an earlier #tanka Tuesday in 2019.

Colleen asked us to use our favorite form of poetry and to tell why we like it. Of course I love pantoums and all repetitive poetry, and I often write using Japanese poetic forms, but I most often write in shadorma. Somehow its rhythm and length work well with the way I express my thoughts, and when I’m stuck, it works to focus me, making me consider the exact words I’m using and why.

I used the haiku form of the first poem, with the repeating lines, in a post on kblog, but couldn’t remember where I had seen it. I’ve since discovered it is called Shi Rensa, and it was invented by Ronovan, who has his own haiku and decima challenges at RonovanWrites.

Draw a Bird Day: Cedar Waxwing

give and take–
belonging nurtures
from both sides

Cedar waxwings are social birds, known to gather in large flocks for eating, where they can often be seen feeding each other. Their food sources include cedar cones, fruit, and insects, and they migrate in groups when all the local fruit, their favorite meal, has been consumed. They are also attracted to the sound of running water, and can be found bathing in both creeks and fountains.

A group of waxwings is called a “museum” or an “earful”–they can be quite loud.

I also posted about the cedar waxwing a year ago–a good December bird I think.

Draw a Bird (dreaming of spring)

Watching Antiques Roadshow last night and someone brought in a brooch. I had to stop and take a photo-nice coincidence for Draw a Bird day.

Here is the brooch, made of gold, diamonds, rubies: a beautiful piece. The woman said her grandmother found it and the owner never claimed it. The grandma kept it in a coat pocket until her granddaughter’s wedding day.

I used artistic license to make the eggs “robin’s egg blue” even though these are clearly not robins.

Chilly here in the northeast and there were even a few snow flurries. Happy Draw a Bird day!