Bird-feeder royalty

January 23, 2020

Pushing and shoving, dive-bombing, squabbling, jockeying and butting-in, the bird-feeder etiquette of our variety of finches is the birdy equivalent of an episode of ‘Survivor’.  There’s also gender bias going on.  Early morning, when the very first flock gingerly descends from the upper branches, nervously eyeing the freshly-filled feeders, the males timid over whether it’s safe to go for it or not, hold back.  Waking up as finches, the males suddenly decide they’d rather be chicken. So, it’s up to their female partners to make the first attempt.  Only then, do the males feel emboldened.

And then, there’s the the Dark-eyed Junco: royalty of bird-feeder land.   Shy, yet able to hold their own, Juncos forego the unseemly behaviour going on above, and instead head for the ground underneath. Gathering in polite groups, they snatch up the morsels the more greedy finch riff-raff above them can’t quite manage to gorge fast enough.

“Dark-Eyed Junco”
watercolour, 3″ x 5″, Arches Hot Press #140 Paper
by Lance Weisser

Little Bird Miniatures

January 29, 2012

My home, Kamloops, British Columbia, is one of the locations in North America where the Mountain Bluebird nests.  They are stunningly blue–shockingly so, and are appreciated by birders the world over.  A monogamous species, the Mountain Bluebird mates for life and prefer nesting boxes which local people here build especially for them.

Another favourite bird of mine is the American Goldfinch which is startlingly yellow and black in the Summer, but moults into a very modest olive green shade in the Winter.  They are rampantly at our feeders these days, up to sixty at a time.  They are acrobatic in their jostling for position and make me smile to watch them nudge one another off the perches.

There are many Ravens in our region which are larger than Crows and stir many feelings within me when I hear their calls.

Perhaps my most favourite bird in Winter is the Junco, because they appear to be timid (they don’t generally feed at the feeders, but prefer to pick at what’s on the ground) yet won’t be bossed around, especially by Goldfinches.  I absolutely love their grey, white and brown feathers and their pert, quick ways.

Junco, Raven, Mountain Bluebird, Goldfinch Miniatures

Raven Miniature (closeup)

I hope some of you will give some thought to framing some miniatures of your own.  The two frames on the left were gleaned from flea markets, while the two frames on the right were imported from Italy.  Of course, photos are equally pleasing in these tiny frames–and are perfect for Valentine’s Day.  In case you’re wondering, I usually sell these at $25,00 each, depending on the quality of the frame and the length of time it took to paint the bird.  That doesn’t make for huge profits, but it means being able to provide an original watercolour for not a whole lot of money.

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