Ivory-billed Woodpecker

(9x12 oil on canvas - SOLD)

This painting is not as dark as shown (hope you like it!).

Often I've considered painting extinct or endangered species; as a statement of what I think is important and as an attempt at spreading the word about conservation. But this painting was not my idea, done by request for a fellow bird lover. And I painted it at a time when loss is a fresh wound for me personally. So it is only now that it is finished that I dare reflect on possibly having painted a "ghost bird", a bird that none of us may be so lucky as to see alive again. Yes, like everyone should, I hold out hope that he may indeed still be found in Florida or in Arkansas but he may have already disappeared. Even in these recent years while conservation & search efforts have intensified.

Please follow these links for more information on the Ivory-billed Woodpecker:

Incidentally, I used photographs of skins and of Pileated Woodpeckers as reference material for the painting.

Bird Nests: Bluebirds & Silk Soy Milk Box

This lovely couple are now on their 3rd clutch with 3 lovely blue eggs laid. Bluebirds usually finish up before the heat & rain really kicks in in July, this year it kindly started raining in early June. They even built on top of their last nest because I neglected to remove it (assuming they we finished for the season). Bluebirds take their fledglings away into the treetops and it is hard for me to figure out if a clutch survives or not.

Chickadees, Titmice & Wrens are more easily accountable since the fledglings hang around the yard near the feeders with their parents begging loudly for weeks. Here is a pic I took last year of a chickadee nest. This is a peace of artwork & you can't see the dog hair weaved inside the cup.

Carolina Wrens make many creative choices of nesting spots. This year, instead of a plain brown box we put up the first box we found that was a good size for the crazy wrens that next in our pole barn/carport. But my pic below is plain compared to these,

Check out the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Funky Nest Site Contest entries:

After living in South Florida for over 15 years, where hanging a feeder was pointless because even the Blue Jays wouldn't be able to get a seed before the feral parrots and doves devoured them all, I now live in a bird lover's heaven. In my humble one acre yard this year we had Tufted Titmice, Carolina Chickadees (2 clutches), Eastern Bluebirds (3), Carolina Wrens (2), & Purple Martins nest. Here in N. central FL, put out the boxes, and they will come! I've never been any good at finding cup nests in bushes and trees, even when I was being paid to but there must be some of them too...
And, I can't resist saying, it helps to keep your cats indoors, and to have a dog to occasionally run off the offending neighbor's cats. It is the most humane choice, and it's not just for the birds:

Purple Martins Fledge!

After having this housing setup for 6 years, 2 of those in S. FL, we finally had ONE brave pair nest all alone, and very late in the season for them. We live in the Jonesville area and the closest colony I know of is at the Archer Rd. dog park but there could be others. The last few years we have had late season visitors check out the gourds but this year they showed up mid-season and we are thrilled that a pair actually stayed and today 4 fledglings are out flying around with the parents. The parents are 2nd year birds, the male for sure anyway, he is not yet in fully dark purple plumage as he will be next year. The plumage difference is more subtle on the female in 2nd vs. 3rd year birds.

They used the gourd with an enlarged hole but if anyone wants more details just let me know. I'll just say we know now to toss the porches and to enlarge all the other holes for next year. They have been a joy to have around and I can't wait to see if we have more next year!

Here is a link to the conservation organization we bought our housing from, the site is full of greats facts and photos:

p.s. the photo above is before they nested and it's an adult peeking out from the gourd. I may have missed my chance for a "family portrait".

Have you seen a Swallow-tailed Kite this year?

Have you been so lucky as to see this bird lately? One of the most graceful of birds? One that upon seeing, if not struck with awe then perhaps this is a hint that you, or someone you love, should lay off the electronic stimuli...The Charleston Bird's of Prey Center has a new Citizen Science project this year to supply data for the good folks who research the population trends, nest and forage sites of this species.
(photo borrowed with the best intentions from this site)