‘Tis the season for baby birds

Rock Ptarmigan Denali June2015_web

The artwork shown here is available for sale, click here to view current auctions

Birds are busy this time of year, trying to raise a family (or two or three) and then get ready for fall migration, and it all goes so fast. The young birds are full-grown just a few weeks after they hatch, and the opportunity to see them at these early stages are limited. In one sense they are not much of an identification challenge (infrequently seen and usually with a parent), but that scarcity also means that when we do see them (especially without a parent) they can be very tough to identify.

Black-and-white Warbler Vermont Jun2015_web
a juvenile Black-and-white Warbler, an original gouache painting from field observations near Burlington, Vermont on 27 Jun 2015.

I have always thought it would be worthwhile to add images of these youngest birds to the field guide, and this summer I’ve been making an effort to see, sketch, and paint some. This just-fledged Black-and-white Warbler was near Burlington, Vermont on June 27th, still begging for food from its parents. It looks enough like a 1st-winter Black-and-white Warbler to be readily identifiable, but at the same time quite different, with its buff wingbars and narrow, grayish streaks below.

A recent trip to Denali National Park, in Alaska, led to the two paintings below – a Rock Ptarmigan and a Surfbird. I hope these will eventually appear in a Sibley Guide, and to help fund the work of creating these new images I am selling the original paintings.

Surfbird Denali June2015_web
Young Surfbird, an original gouache painting from field observations on 12 Jun 2015 in Denali National Park, Alaska
Rock Ptarmigan Denali June2015_web
Young Rock Ptarmigan, an original gouache painting from field observations on 12 Jun 2015 in Denali National Park, Alaska

2 thoughts on “‘Tis the season for baby birds”

  1. Perhaps an app will suffice for baby birds. I’ve wanted one for years. Try to start with Western bird in mind. We a usually your last audience.


  2. Pingback: Blog Birding #242 « ABA Blog

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