Monday, April 21, 2008

Peregrine Falcons

My artwork is about acknowledging the way that wild creatures have adapted to the changes humans have made in the environment. I often use Peregrine Falcons as an example. Many cities now have Peregrine Falcons as yearly residents as they nest on skyscrapers. In many cities, organizations are supporting them by providing a safe nesting situation.

In Rochester, New York, the Kodak company built a nest box many years ago to accommodate a male and female falcon. They focused a camera on the box and every minute or so it took a picture and you could view it on the Internet. It was so exciting to watch as the eggs were laid and then hatched. I watched as the parents brought food and then the young ones fledged. (The scientist that monitor all of this also remove the eyas (chicks) and band them.

Mariah and Kaver are the current pair. Mariah has finished laying and has five eggs this year. The eggs are due to hatch soon. This would be a great time to keep an eye on them and watch their intimate behavior in the nest box.

Technology and experience has helped to upgrade the experience for both human and Peregrine.  There are many camera views now and you get a new image every 30 seconds.  

Kodak has launched a separate site for the FalconCam and you can either peek at the nest box or read up on the history and go through the pictures of last year. Take a look! Maybe you'll be there when the first chick breaks through the egg...

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Western Bluebird

I'm going back a few weeks to the overwintering birds that were common here for a few months.  One of the prettiest ones and a big time visitor at the Bird Spa, was the Western Bluebird.  This small thrush is a more common sight in parks and green fields, so I was surprised to see them hanging out in suburbia.  Turns out they like the olives on the tree or ground and are particularly fond of the fruit of the palm trees.  My yard can provide both.  And after feeding, a nice bath in a fountain designed just for birds

and then dry in the sun on the branches of the persimmon tree.  

Saturday, April 12, 2008

"Endangered Species" at The Folk Tree

I am very happy to be included in an exhibit at The Folk Tree in Pasadena, California:

a group exhibition honoring and acknowledging our vulnerable natural world,
is on view at The Folk Tree
from April 19 – May 17, 2008

Empirical evidence that the world’s natural balance is severely compromised is hard to refute at this point. Thus, it is an especially critical time to draw attention to nature’s wonders, to acknowledge its weaknesses, and to work toward change. Endangered Species  includes artwork addressing the following related themes: 
1) extinct/endangered/threatened species;
2) nature’s beauty and fragility;
3) humanity’s impact on the environment; and
4) contemporary threats to the “ethnosphere,” a term coined by Wade Davis, explorer-in-residence at the National Geographic Society, and noted Harvard educated anthropologist and ethnobotanist.

Gail Mishkin, who curated the exhibit, asked the artists for coments to accompany the work.  This is one of my pieces: 


Crows form a lifelong family unit and know each other’s names and preferences. When a lone crow happens upon abundant food, he or she doesn’t quickly and selfishly gobble it up. He announces loudly and clearly to call the rest of the family to feast with him.

Work by other artists in the exhibit:

Green is Good-Green is Necessary

Good Hair Day or Return of the Bees
Ulla Anobile

The Consumer

Jacqueline Marks


Like Fleas on a Rabid Dog

Brown Pelican

Sacred Lands

Leatherback Turtle

Friday, April 11, 2008

Cedar Waxwings in the Pecan Tree

Yesterday I was talking with my brother, Rick, about the progress of the birds on their migration route through his backyard. Yes, he bought his current home with the knowledge that he was going to be placed well to photograph wild birds on their way north or south. He built a beautiful little stream/burbling brook that would be just right for bird bathing.

(As he was building the water feature for the birds, a bunch of Mud Daubers helped themselves to the plentiful mud that lead to yet another series of photographs. Check them and the birds out at Rick's website:

So, anyway, I was telling him I thought he may have missed the Cedar Waxwings. They were here, in Redlands, most of the winter, but I hadn't seen any for several weeks. But when I went out to pick up the evening paper, I heard their little tee-tee calls and spotted movement in the large pecan tree across the street. Sure enough. They were hard to spot.

Having the zoom lens and Photoshop certainly helped to locate them in the foliage.

Maybe they are on their way to Rick's house in Huntington Beach.  I'll let you know if they make it.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

White-crowned Sparrow Bath

Today was a slow day at the bird spa.  The only visitor (while I happened to be looking out the window) was a lone White-crowned Sparrow.  I had the window open, so he could hear the shutter click sound which accounts for his wary look.  It's not a usual sound for the birds who visit the garden.