Sunday, October 27, 2013

Feeding and Sketching Birds

Robin in Crabapple in Yard, House Sparrows at Window Feeder. Sketch by Ken Januski.

Droll Yankee Window Feeder hanging on my studio window.

Last year I got the feeder pictured above for Christmas. I thought it would be nice to sketch birds outside of my studio window, right in front of my drawing table with its table easel. Hah! December - no birds. January - no birds. February - no birds. I may exaggerate a bit. But I'm pretty sure that no birds, not even House Sparrows, would try it until March or so.

The idea of course was to get me to force myself to look at birds more closely and get better at this odd thing called field sketching. Well it was a great idea. But the birds didn't cooperate.

But things have changed. All of the field sketches on this page are from the last few days. Ninety percent of the birds have been House Sparrows and the other ten percent a recent fall arrival, Carolina Chickadees. At the top you can see another bird that has arrived in the yard but is too big for the feeder - one of many American Robins. They are having a good time in our crabapple, the one we were told wouldn't reach eight feet and is now about 25 feet high. But it does present a good view fro the third floor.

In any case it's been nice to have so many birds. But I'd sure prefer something more interesting, as we sometimes get in our backyard. For practicing sketching from life though there's nothing wrong with House Sparrows. Their constant quarrels and fights over food and feeding position mean that there are always animated poses.

And every few seconds they all disappear in a choreographed wave. It's always amazes me how they can all leave like this at seemingly the exact same nanosecond. One of these days I'll try to capture that in paint, I hope?!
Carolina Chickadees and House Sparrows at feeder. Sketch by Ken Januski

House Sparrows at Feeder. Sketch by Ken Januski.

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