Category Archives: Bird

Visit Your Local Fair

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my California Quail, watercolor batik, 18″ x24 “

Summer is winding down but you may still have time to visit a local fair.  These fairs bring back happy memories from my childhood (3-legged race, anyone?)

The Napa Town & Country Fair is open now through Sunday August 12th.  I noticed several members of the Napa Valley Art Association are exhibiting in professional art including yours truly. 

I was happy to may my California Quail recognized for Fifth place in multi-media.  It really is watercolor, but I entered it in multimedia since it’s adhered to a board with acrylic matte medium.

The professional art division along with all Senior divisions is exhibited in Chardonnay Hall.  The fair is open daily from noon to 10 pm, closing at 9pm Sunday.  

Western Bluebird

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Western Bluebird

The beautiful blue-and rust Western Bluebird is actually a small thrush.  They swoop over open fields to catch insects.  They can also be attracted to backyard feeders with mealworms.

The bills of Western Bluebirds are not equipped to dig their own nest holes, so the presence of cavities in trees or posts, old woodpecker holes or nest boxes are very important.  When building or purchasing a nest box for a bluebird, make sure you have the correct entrance hole size;  the diameter is different for the eastern bluebird.

You can read about Western Bluebird nest boxes at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology NestWatch site.

Woodpecker Specimen- Nuttall’s

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Woodpecker Specimen- Nuttall’s

This female Nuttall’s Woodpecker was the unfortunate victim of a window collision.  Up to 1 billion birds die from window strikes in the U.S. each year, according to a 2014 study. 

To reduce bird strikes, it is suggested to remove all bird attractants near the windows, carefully place bird feeders, or to partially cover the windows.  Remedies are available according to the Bird Collisions Program of the American Bird Conservancy. The group offers extensive information on preventing collisions on its website.

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/why-birds-hit-windows-and-how-you-can-help-prevent-it/

Red-shouldered Hawk

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Red-shouldered Hawk

A medium-sized hawk, our California subspecies is rich reddish-orange on breast, head and shoulders.  The wings are strongly patterned black-and-white and the tail strongly barred.  

Red-shouldered hawks are typically seen in riparian woodland habitats.  Since 1900, their population has declined due to the clearing of wet hardwood forests.  Red-shouldered hawks and other raptors also suffered from DDT exposure causing brittle eggs until that pesticide was phased out.

Black-headed Grosbeak

 

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Black-headed Grosbeak

This chunky bird has a heavy conical bill and a fully orange belly which distinguishes it from the Spotted Towhee. Often hidden in dense foliage, they are usually identified by their rich melodious whistling.  The song is similar to a Robin’s but faster and less broken.

Back-headed Grosbeaks prefer habitat with mixed riparian woodlands including large trees, however they will visit suburban parks and backyard feeders 

Quail Strut

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Quail Strut

Our golden foothills of California are a favorite habitat of this colorful quail.  The male often stands vigil on a tree stump or fence post, claiming his territory and warning his flock with his distinctive call to take cover in the underbrush.

The distinctive call sounds like Chi-ca-go!

California Quail

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California Quail

Established as the California state bird in 1931, the birds was known for it’s hardiness and adaptability.  Also known as the valley quail, these birds have a distinctive black plume that curves forward.

These quail prefer low growing shrubs or woodpiles for cover.  Adapting well to human populations, these ground nesting birds are subject to predation by feral cats.  Conversion of small farms to large agribusiness without hedgerows has a negative impact on its habitat.

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Napa Library Exhibit

I did it!  I actually made the deadline completing 32 artworks and installing them in the Napa County Library yesterday.

For those of you interested in the business side of art, I thought I’d describe my exhibit process.  I took some extra time to lay out the work on paper.  It made for a late night previous to installation day, but it really made the actual install go smoothly.

I made a quick line drawing of the exhibit area in Photoshop and then created small tiles of each artwork and placed them on the layout.  I didn’t pay attention to sizes or quality of the tiles.  I just wanted to co-ordinate the subjects and color palettes a bit.

I’ve included a web-friendly version of my layout here.  This preview worked really well, and I only ended up swapping two of the images in the actual display.

 

exhibit layout

Napa County Library exhibit

Great Blue Fisherman

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Great Blue Fisherman

 

Great blue herons can adapt to almost any wetland habitat as long as it holds fish.  Their primary diet is fish although they have been known to eat a wide range of shrimp, crabs, insects, amphibians and even small mammals.

Herons are known as very clever anglers.  Some have been observed to drop insects or human foods they do not eat themselves like popcorn or bread into the water to attract fish.