Studying the Feathered Creatures
I've been living the rural life in South Carolina almost a year now, and it happens that for several of those months "social distancing" has been the recommended lifestyle anyway. Many people have commented that the safety rules resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic have brought them closer to nature as well as to home, which has given them some consolation and peace. My new home in the Lowcountry is ideal for that, and I am enjoying having nature observation opportunities as close as my front porch.
I love animals of all kinds, and birds are especially fascinating. (I recommend the book Feathers: The Evolution of a Natural Miracle, by Thor Hanson, for as much as one could hope to know about the feather.) This is a rich environment for seeing birds, coastal species as well as woodland types. Several kinds of egrets, herons, laughing gulls, cormorants, etc. perch on our dock. A tall dead pine attracts eagles, osprey, vultures, wood storks, woodpeckers and owls. Bluebirds, pine warblers, Carolina wrens, painted buntings, mockingbirds, too many to count sing and flit around in the oaks, magnolias, palms and pines. I am just starting to learn about them and have a long way to go.
Having done sketches from life and a few paintings that featured birds, I realized I needed to get a better grasp of their anatomy. Copying and drawing is the best way to learn! Here are a few pages from my sketchbook.
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