When we grew up we flew the coop. We spread our wings and our parents had to watch us like a hawk and warned us not to be birdbrains because there would be vultures out there. We preened, and swanned around all pigeon-toed, hoping not to look like turkeys amongst our friends. Birds of a feather flock together and some of us became lovebirds. It just took a peck on the cheek and the bluebird of happiness was on our shoulder. Our hearts were all aflutter and we became night owls. Hopefully we had learned about the birds and the bees... Soon after, we feathered our nests, the stork came to visit and we were feeling less cocky, having to get up every day at sparrow’s fart when the baby squawked. What a lark! You may think it all sounds a bit cock-eyed and wish I'd quit this chirping. You're thinking I'm crazy as a loon, yes, because if it quacks like a duck... I know! But you will be cuckoo if you keep your head in the sand over the fact that birds play a huge part in our lives. It's not all feathers. Admit it now because you don’t want to be eating crow. You see, time will fly, and before we know it we will no longer be spring chickens but old ducks. Hopefully though by then we will be wise as owls and we wouldn't need to just wing it anymore. The day will come when we will sing our swan song. The ravens will come and the mourning doves will sing. This needn't ruffle your feathers though, because then, with any luck you might be able to actually fly with the angels...Just like a bird! As Emily Dickinson says, " Hope is the thing with feathers - That perches in the soul "...
I feel so lucky. We have a collection of bird feeders strung up high with pulleys in the branches of a brush oak tree in perfect view outside the bedroom window. Every morning we open the curtains and sit in bed with our coffee, watching the little winged things peck at their breakfast. We greet the day with old friends - the blue jays, woodpeckers and nuthatches that have wintered over, surviving the frigid -35 degree C days. Others are just passing through - migrants like the Harris sparrows, juncos and redpolls. I know spring has arrived when the goldfinches and orioles sprinkle flecks of yellow and orange confetti in the barely budding branches. The thrashers sing like the dickens and the robins are very busy with their nest-building. I shrug as the sparrows dig in the mulch on the flower beds, spilling wood chips onto the grass. And then the tiny hummingbirds arrive and sip intently behind the glass, oblivious of me just a foot away. The bird book and binoculars live on the bedside table. The camera stands alert - semi-permanently on the tripod, aimed at the twittering targets. I've written previously about hunting for beauty, and this is exactly what I mean. I'm always on the prowl for that pretty thing!
Before I fill my own bowl with Fibre 1 and greek yoghurt I have already scooped out black-oil sunflower seed and cracked corn, pressed suet into the cedar holder using the handle of the Pampered Chef ice-cream scoop (the perfect size), cut orange halves, and soaked dried meal worms in water....for the birds! Throughout the day I spend many joyfully absorbed moments keeping an eye on who is coming and going like little jets landing, refuelling and taking off. I watch them hop, never still, cock their heads, crack open the seeds and interact with one another. And just then, nothing else matters.
The bird watching spills over into the studio, because with their fluffy, coloured loveliness they are endless inspiration and perfect little watercolour subjects. Here's a breakdown of how this Rose-Breasted Grosbeak came together... click here to download the page for a closer look.
The perfect soundtrack to a day of painting these lovely birds this compilation of classical piano pieces that truly lives up to it's title: The Most Relaxing Piano Album in the World - Ever! Its a double album, and well worth the investment. I've had it for many years and it remains right up there with my favorites. Click the album to sample the goods.
Thanks for stopping by! If you like what you see here and don't want to miss future posts, why don't you follow my blog?