Four more for The 20


I am plugging away at the images for The 20 Common Birds in Decline, in fact, I have 10 more images to go-I am half way there. But they are small, measuring 2.5×3.5″, so it won’t take very long. I am making them in groups of 4 and printing them onto cloth in one session. It is fun, in a very obsessive, compulsive way. I find a photograph that I like, I draw the image, scan and resize it, cut it out of Fun Foam, print it on watercolor paper, then using the printed card as inspiration, I print using procion MX dye on cloth. All while taking notes in my inspiration journal. 

Today I printed (from left to right), Little Blue Heron, Rufous Hummingbird, Common Tern, and American Bittern.


This is an American Bittern, a private bird of marshy areas. Its coloring and mannerism can make it fade right into the landscape, making this a challenging bird to experience in the wild. I printed at least 4 of this image and I could probably print it again, to get it just right, the color is not fully realized. 

It feels good to work with images of birds again. I love birds and want to affect change in the way people think about them. This list was put together using citizen science by the Audubon Society. Chances are, you will recognize many of the birds on this list, if you are interested in helping them secure viable habitat, check this page out. Or maybe you have a bird feeder and would like to contribute to a citizen science project, check out Project Feeder Watch by Cornell or the Great Backyard Bird Count by Audubon (which happens in April and February respectively). 

Many of the 10 images that are in my future are tough birds to make images of, the like Whip-Poor-Will, a bird most often heard, but not seen, at night. And the Whip-Poor-Will is a primal looking bird too! So finding an image that will say, “Whip-Poor-Will” is a challenge. There are four Sparrows on this list, and I look forward to learning about and identifying them. Making art, exploring imagery that is interesting to me is a way of learning, I love taking out books, reading, searching the web and helping the data settle into my knowledge base. I have worked with so many images of birds, I now recognize them as I read my favorite birding magazines, because I am, for the most part, an armchair birder who longs for a feeder (and backyard) of her very own. 

4 thoughts on “Four more for The 20

  1. They are all gorgeous. You always make the work sound so “simple” and easy when I know that is not the case. Lots of time and lots of talent. Great work!


  2. You know too well my obsession with birds. The first thing I did at Mom’s was fill the feeders and set out the hummingbird feeder. Today, the snow melted and the warmer air brought out the robins, starlings (I have a problem with them), cedar wax wings, towhee, flickers, and red wing blackbirds. I sat in front of the window and just watched the bird ballet.
    Your birds today are new to me and beautiful. Now I want to get out my books and learn about these and the other endangered ones. Thank you. (I have never been able to distinguish the various sparrows, wrens, and finches. They fall under the general category of LBJ – little brown jobs.)


  3. I’m amazed at what you can do with fun foam and with dyes! They are beautiful. I too am a bird lover. We have feeders summer and winter. There are a few different sparrows that come here.i must check to see if any are on the list.


  4. You mentioned the whip-poor-will. I live in Florida and in the summer we always had its relative, the chuck-will’s- widow singing at night just outside our open windows. During the day I would see it laying on a branch in the same spot resting. Even though its song was loud, it never disturbed our sleep. Sadly, we haven’t heard it or seen it in our yard in years.
    Are you going to quilt your printed birds? What are your plans for the finished products?


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