Category Archives: Art Exhibition

Down to the Brook

July 6, 2017

Richardson Brook Wildlife Sanctuary, Tolland

 

From my hotel in Great Barrington I drive east through the pastoral farmland of the Housatonic River Valley and into the Hill Towns: New Marlborough and Sandisfield.  I pass through the little hamlets of Mill River, Montville and New Boston, and then on into Tolland.

The parking for Richardson Brook Wildlife Sanctuary is simply a wide shoulder on the side of Rte 57, with the trails beginning beyond a break in the stonewall.   The trails are all downhill to the brook, in some spots quite steep.  I follow the Charlotte Clark Loop Trail, then the Richardson Brook Trail.

This photo I took of the boulder strewn woods along the Charlotte Clark Loop reminds me of a painting by the Maine artist Neil Welliver.

Here’s one of Neil’s paintings – see if you don’t agree:

Late Light by Neil Welliver

A flicker of movement draws my attention – it’s a blue-headed vireo foraging very LOW.  It’s not typical behavior for this species, and I watch as it actively searches the forest floor – flitting from one low perch to another, but never actually landing on the ground.   The soft, lemony wash on the flanks shows up well in the soft light of the understory, and the contrast of the white spectacles on its slate-blue head is striking!  I make some quick sketches and take some notes.

Sketchbook studies of a Solitary Vireo, pencil and watercolor, 9″ x 12″

Later, I use these sketches to re-create the scene in my studio:

Solitary Vireo at Richardson Brook, watercolor on Fabriano soft-press watercolor paper, 10.5″ x 15″

Arriving at Richardson Brook (which is also the southern boundary of the sanctuary), I see that the water levels are low, but the stream corridor is shady, moist and cool.  Little pools lined with golden gravel are tucked between moss-covered rocks and fallen logs.

I consider painting the scene but am intimidated by its complexity.  In my mind, I formulate a painting plan. How will I “frame” the composition?  Which washes will I lay down first?  Which areas are lightest and will need to be painted around or “reserved”?  Where will the darkest accents occur?  This mental “rehearsal” is my way of building up the courage to begin…

A Blackburnian Warbler murmurs overhead as I block in the brook with a soft pencil, then “jump in” with my paints (excuse the pun)!

I paint the darkest accents first, which establishes the overall pattern of lights and darks.  Next, I paint the pattern of greens on the mossy rocks, then the pools of water in between.  With these initial washes in place, the picture starts to take on a life of its own.  It starts making its own demands and leads me on to the next step.  All I need to do is “listen” carefully and do what I’m told!

Richardson Brook, watercolor on Arches cold-press watercolor paper, 10″ x 13.25″

The hike back to my car is all uphill, and a good cardiovascular workout.  I pause to catch my breath and admire a dense patch of partridgeberry, spangled with those oddly furry white blossoms.

On another “rest stop”, I find a woodpecker wing feather, looking very “graphic” against the confusion of the forest litter.

 

ADVENTURES IN LIMESTONE COUNTRY: part 2: Bunnies and Yellow-bellies

July  5/6, 2017

Lime Kiln Farm Wildlife Sanctuary, Sheffield

 

I return to Lime Kiln Farm the next morning – I want to experience the reserve during the early hours when wildlife activity is at its peak.

I get better views of the Alder Flycatcher today and make some sketches and color studies.  All of the empidonax flycatchers are subtle in plumage – the morphological differences between the species very slight.

Alder Flycatcher Study, watercolor on Fabriano cold-press, 8″ x 8″

The only reason I can be sure I’m looking at an Alder Flycatcher is the distinctive call.  Sibley describes it as “rreeBEEa”, but to me it sounds more like “zwee-BEEP”.  Either way, the accent is on the second syllable.

A yellow-bellied sapsucker flies in and lands on a nearby snag and I train my scope on it.  It’s a handsome adult male with a red throat and cap.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, watercolor in Stillman & Birn DELTA sketchbook, 12″ x 8.5″

Sapsuckers are common birds in the Berkshires, but become scarcer as you move east.  We see them often enough where I live in central Massachusetts, but they are largely absent east of Worcester County.

Suddenly, things are happening fast: a Cooper’s Hawk streaks in and alights, but is immediately driven off by a red-winged blackbird and a kingbird.  Then, I nearly step on a large northern watersnake sunning itself in the path!

Slowing my pace, (and watching my feet more carefully, now), I notice a cottontail in the meadow path ahead.  The rabbit allows me to approach quite closely , so I set up my scope to draw.  The bunny is a good model – moving occasionally, but sitting quietly for long stretches while I draw.

Sketchbook studies of a cottontail and a goldfinch, pencil, 6″ x 9.5″

A lot of the drama here will be in that bright bunny EYE, so I pay it close attention!

Clover and vetch enliven the scene with bits of color, and in the surrounding grasses, I avoid dark accents, hoping to achieve the soft, flickering quality of a summer meadow.

Cottontail at Lime Kiln Farm, watercolor on Arches rough, 12.25″ x 16.25″

 

Perched On a Page: The Bird Sketches of Debby Kaspari

Join us on Sunday October 1st from 1-5pm for our opening reception for Debby Kaspari’s latest exhibition: “Perched on a Page: The Bird Sketches of Debby Kaspari” at the Museum of American Bird Art. Meet the artist and enjoy light fare.

 

Exhibition Overview:

A field sketch is a visual note from the wild; sometimes it’s a detailed observation but often it’s not much more than a scribble that catches the spark of a bird’s gesture and personality.

Artist Debby Kaspari says, “I try to work fast, keeping my eyes on the bird while getting down the initial shapes. Sketching animals from life takes speed and a little good luck, but capturing that essence makes the challenge worthwhile.”

Armed with binoculars and pencils, she’s chased antbirds in Panama, lapwings in Denmark, fairy wrens in Australia, and toucanets in Peru. Perched on a Page portrays the daily life of birds, captured by the artist in faraway—and not-so-faraway—corners of the world.

This is the first time Kaspari’s sketches will be exhibited as a collection that represents nearly 30 years in the field drawing birds.

Artist‘s Bio

Debby Kaspari is a Signature Member of Society of Animal Artists (SAA). Her paintings have been exhibited in the Woodson Museum’s Birds in Art, SAA’s Art and the Animal, and the Bennington Center’s Art of the Animal Kingdom, among other venues.

As an Eckelberry Fellow she sketched birds in the Peruvian Amazon for Drawing the Motmot, a solo exhibit at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History. As Harvard Forest’s first Artist-in-Residence she explored themes of land use history and ecological legacies over eight months of drawing and painting in New England woods. This year she joined Artists for Nature Foundation on a painting trip to Israel and Jordan, raising awareness of the Dead Sea’s ecological plight.

Kaspari’s illustrations for Thoreau’s Animals, edited by Geoff Wisner, were acclaimed in the Wall Street Journal for their “sense of immediacy,” and pencil strokes that “register as boldly as a seismograph’s.” Other books she has illustrated include The Incidental Steward: Reflections on Citizen Science by Akiko Busch (Yale University Press), Birds of Trinidad and Tobago (Cornell University), and Coyote at the Kitchen Door (Harvard University Press), and many articles and covers for Birdwatcher’s Digest and Oklahoma Today magazines.

Her award-winning blog, Drawing the Motmot, can be visited at drawingthemotmot.com. Debby Kaspari lives in Norman, Oklahoma.

Adventures in Limestone Country, part 1: FEEL THE BURN

July  5/6, 2017

Lime Kiln Farm Wildlife Sanctuary, Sheffield

Sketchbook Study of a Black-and-white Warbler, pencil & watercolor, 4″ x 6″

I plan an overnight excursion to visit two unstaffed sanctuaries in the Southwest corner of the state, and book two nights in a hotel in Great Barrington.  By 8 am, I’m on the Mass Pike heading west.  Driving through Palmer, I’m astonished by the extent of gypsy moth defoliation.  For as far as the eye can see in every direction, the hills are brown and bare.  It’s been reported that 900,000 acres in Massachusetts have been defoliated this summer, and one of the worst hit areas is the one I’m currently driving through…

I arrive at Lime Kiln Farm Wildlife Sanctuary by noon.  It’s a warm, sunny day and butterflies are active around the gravel parking area.  A red admiral, an orange sulfur and a tiger swallowtail flit around the lot, where my car is the only one present.  It’s a pleasant spot, surrounded by meadows that keep the view open to the mountains on the horizon.

Sketchbook Studies of a Ruby-throated Hummingbird, pencil, 6″ x 9″

A copse of trees at the edge of the meadow includes some dead spruces, whose lichen-encrusted tops are a favored perch of a ruby-throated hummingbird.  I set up my telescope and break for lunch, but am interrupted by frantic bouts of drawing when the hummingbird appears.  In my final watercolor, I use a pose from my sketchbook that helps to coveys the feisty character of these birds.

detail of finished watercolor

I make one change to my sketchbook pose:  I move the wingtips to BELOW the tail.  It’s something hummers often do when perched, and to me it makes the bird more assertive.   Ruby-throats just don’t seem to comprehend that they are VERY SMALL!

Hummingbird on Spruce Top, watercolor on Arches hot-press, 13.5″ x 10.25″

As I’m drawing, I can hear the calls of an alder flycatcher coming from a shrub swamp below the meadow, so I follow the Lime Kiln Loop Trail hoping to get closer to the bird.

The old Lime Kiln is an impressive structure, towering forty feet into the forest canopy.  In the 18th and 19th centuries, the lime industry was a prominent part of the New England economy.  Lime was a key ingredient in plaster and mortar.

When limestone is burned, it produces lime (calcium oxide).  Lime kilns in New England used wood or coal to burn the limestone.  The kiln was loaded with a cord of wood at the bottom, and then piled with limestone broken into basketball sized chunks.   After the burn, the lime was loaded into casks for transport.  By 1900 the lime kilns in New England were shutting down due to competition from newer building materials and cheaper lime from other sources.

I crawl about the relic kiln, shooting it from various angles, and imagine the roar of a cord of wood blazing in the belly of the old kiln.  FEEL THE BURN!

I follow the Quarry Trail, then the Taconic Vista Trail to the “Scenic Vista”.   And, it is indeed SCENIC – with the Taconic Mountains to the west and the nearer Berkshire Hills to the north, all viewed across a wide meadow.  A yellow-throated vireo sings it’s “three-eights” from a big oak while I set up to paint.

painting in progress at the Scenic Vista

I’ve written previously about the artistic challenges posed by the unbroken greens of summer in New England, and here again I’m faced with the challenge:  how to deal with all that GREEN!

View of the Taconics I, watercolor on Arches cold-press, 10″ x 13.25″

My first attempt at painting the scene disappoints me – it feels heavy-handed and overworked, so I immediately start another version.

View of the Taconics II, watercolor on Arches cold-press, 9″ x 12.25″

On my second attempt, I scale back to a smaller sheet and deliberately compress the landscape from left to right.  I make the mountains more prominent and paint them with a purer, brighter blue.  I pay special attention to the zone that links the distant mountains with the nearer trees (i.e. where the greens shift from cool to warm).  I simplify the foreground and bring more light into the closest trees on the left.

I’ll leave it to YOU to decide which painting YOU prefer!

Kingdom of Grass

July 12, 2016

Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary, Marshfield

Daniel Webster Meadows - at 72 dpi

 Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary in Marshfield is truly a ‘Kingdom of Grass’ – acres and acres of it in all varieties, textures and colors.  It’s a little piece of midwest prairie plunked down here in the Massachusetts coastal plain.

At the head of the Fox Hill Trail I’m surrounded by a rollicking flock of goldfinches, attracted to the ripe seed heads of knapweed.  The bright purple blossoms paired with the lemon yellow birds makes for pure EYE CANDY, and I’m struck by the way the morning light rakes over the bird, casting most of the head in shadow.

Goldfinch and Knapweed - at 72 dpi

Goldfinch and Knapweed, watercolor on Arches rough, 12″ x 9″

Purple martins fill the air as I branch off onto the Pond Loop.  This colony appears to be doing well.  I see adults and young birds perched on the sumacs near the ‘gourd colony’.

A unique feature of this Mass Audubon property are the British-style bird blinds – two of them positioned at either end of a shallow, marshy panne.  Inside the easternmost blind, it’s cool and dark.  A bench is mounted below the observation windows to allow comfortable, sustained viewing.  It’s a fine vantage on the wetland, enhanced by the placement of natural-looking perches in strategic locations.  I settle in, and am soon joined by a local photographer, John Grant.  We chat quietly and scan for subjects…

Daniel Webster - View from the Blind - at 72 dpi

view from the blind

I notice a movement at the base of the cattails, and watch a Virginia rail emerge into the open water, followed closely by another, darker bird.  A moorhen or coot???  NO, it’s too small and the bill isn’t right for either of these species.  It’s charcoal black, save for a few fuzzy patches of chestnut, and the bill is dark and thin, with a pale nostril and pale tip.  It is, of course, a young Virginia rail!  It shadows the adult closely, following every movement of its parent with keen interest.   The adult finds what looks like a dead frog or tadpole, and both birds take turns poking, prodding, lifting and tossing.  The show is over all too soon, and the birds melt back into the cattails – but I’ve fired off some shots with my digital camera, and use these, along with a crude memory sketch, later in the studio…

Virginia Rail and Young - at 72 dpi

Virginia Rail and Young, watercolor on Arches cold-press, 10.5″ x 14″

Near the far end of the Pond Loop I pause in the shade before venturing out into the fields.  The day is warming quickly, the skies clear and sunny.   There won’t be much shade once I emerge from the woods. At the edge of the path, I notice an unfamiliar plant – a few tiny, pink blossoms on a tall, grass-like stalk, each blossom attached to the top of a swollen pod or calyx.  I make a simple study in my sketchbook and a friend later identifies the plant as Deptford pink – an introduced species in the genus Dianthus.

Deptford Pink, retouched - at 72 dpi

Deptford Pink, sketchbook study, 4.5″ x 8.5″

Bobolinks are jinking around in the fields.  The nesting season is winding down for them, and the males are in an unfamiliar transitional plumage, with brown napes and chestnut splotches on the head and chest.

Bobolink in Moult 2 - at 72 dpi

I stroll the River Walk (the GREEN Harbor River an opaque BROWN at this time of year) and pause on the boardwalk where the walk rejoins the Fox Hill Trail.  There is a shallow panne here next to the river, with lumps of mud and algae rising above little pools of water.

Daniel Webster Boardwalk and Panne - at 72 dpi

Killdeer are making a racket off to my left, and a snowy egret patrols an open channel.  A small flock of peeps sweeps in and lands – seven or eight least sandpipers.  Sandpipers are one of my favorite groups of birds and I welcome any chance to work with them.  These peeps are feeding actively, but I build up a series of poses in my sketchbook, working back and forth between the various poses.

Least Sandpipers sketchbook page - at 72 dpi

Least Sandpiper Studies, sketchbook page, 9″ x 12″

Least Sandpipers at Daniel Webster - at 72 dpi - Copy

Least Sandpipers at Daniel Webster, watercolor on Windsor & Newton cold-press, 9″ x 10.5″

I hike up to the observation platform on Fox Hill to take in the sweeping view toward Cape Cod Bay.  This is the largest unbroken tract of grassland on the sanctuary – a truly impressive sight.  A kestrel drifts past and a monarch butterfly glides over the grass…

Heading back along the Fox Hill Trail, I like the view back towards Fox Hill.  What attracts me most are the converging lines of perspective – a row of telephone poles in the rear, another parallel line of fence posts in the middle distance, and the wide track of the Fox Hill Trail – all converging on a point just out of the picture on the right.  From this vantage there is virtually no shade, and the afternoon heat is relentless.  I take out a sheet of cold-press watercolor paper and do a drawing, but decide to add the color later in my studio.  Cold-press is not as nice to draw on as hot-press, and in the dry heat, the surface feels like sandpaper under the tip of my 3B pencil.

View Toward Fox Hill, drawing - at 72 dpi

View Toward Fox Hill, pencil on Arches cold-press, 8.75″ x 12.25″

Aside from exaggerating the colors in the ripe grasses, I make one other change to the scene – I move the crossbars on the telephone poles to the tops of the poles.  Perhaps it’s my nostalgic side, but this is the way telephone poles always looked when I was growing up, and it just feels better to me this way.

View Toward Fox Hill - at 72 dpi

View Toward Fox Hill, watercolor on Arches cold-press, 8.75″ x 12.25″

 

Young Artists Take Flight

On Friday September 23rd, many young artists who had their artwork accepted into our inaugural youth bird art exhibition:Taking Flight, were able to see their art displayed, meet other young artists and David Sibley, and celebrate with friends and family. Here are a few pictures from that wonderful evening.

YoungArtists-19YoungArtists-2YoungArtists-15YoungArtists-22

Here is a gallery with more photos

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If you would like to see photos of each piece of art, check out these links. Each page has selected artwork exhibited in Taking Flight:

  1. https://blogs.massaudubon.org/takingflight/selected-artwork-from-taking-flight-a-juried-youth-bird-art-exhibition/
  2. https://blogs.massaudubon.org/takingflight/selected-artwork-from-taking-flight-our-juried-youth-bird-art-exhibition-part-ii/
  3. https://blogs.massaudubon.org/takingflight/selected-artwork-from-taking-flight-our-juried-youth-bird-art-exhibition-part-iii/
  4. https://blogs.massaudubon.org/takingflight/selected-artwork-from-taking-flight-our-juried-youth-bird-art-exhibition-part-iv/
  5. https://blogs.massaudubon.org/takingflight/selected-artwork-from-taking-flight-our-juried-youth-bird-art-exhibition-part-v/
  6. https://blogs.massaudubon.org/takingflight/selected-artwork-from-taking-flight-our-juried-youth-bird-art-exhibition-part-vi/

 

Selected artwork from Taking Flight: our juried youth bird art exhibition (Part VI)

We are extremely excited to display a selection of art from our first annual juried youth bird art exhibition. This annual exhibition is open to any children and young adults age 4 to 18 years old. All selected entries will be on display at the Museum of American Bird Art from September 23 to December 11th. Entries for our second annual exhibition will open in early 2017.

Barn Swallow in Flight, Anna Rose, Age 15

“Every spring, my friends and I visit the infamous Magee Marsh in northwestern Ohio. While we were there, we saw many vibrant and magnificent warblers. Yet, of every single species we saw, I was enraptured by a small flock of Barn Swallows at the edge of a small pond. I watched them for nearly half an hour and quickly sketched their poses. Eventually, my favorite bird became a finished work of art.”

Anna Rose, Age 15, Barn Swallows

Anna Rose, Age 15, Barn Swallows

Orioles and Oranges, Anna Rose, Age 15

“Ever since I was a baby, my mom has been trying to attract orioles to our family bird feeder. Finally, one afternoon this spring, a single male Baltimore Oriole landed on an orange. A few moments later, six more orioles joined the first. It was an amazing few days as the orioles regularly visited us. My mom and I will always remember the orioles that visited us this spring as one of the highlights of our birding experiences.”

 

Anna Rose, Age 15

Anna Rose, Age 15

River Hunter, Aaron Melendez, Age 9

“The bird I painted is a Belted Kingfisher. I painted this bird because I like to go birding. It reminds me of family trips to the Indiana Dunes State Park. I also painted the Kingfisher because it is a great example of a nice dark blue.”

Aaron Melendez, Age 9

Aaron Melendez, Age 9

Selected artwork from Taking Flight: our juried youth bird art exhibition (Part V)

We are extremely excited to display a selection of art from our first annual juried youth bird art exhibition. This annual exhibition is open to any children and young adults age 4 to 18 years old. All selected entries will be on display at the Museum of American Bird Art from September 23 to December 11th. Entries for our second annual exhibition will open in early 2017.

Sage Lemieux, Toucan, Age 11

Sage Lemieux, Age 11

Sage Lemieux, Age 11

Bird Pooping, Neva Hobbs, Age 5

Neva_Age4

Eastern Bluebird, Jamie Davis, Age 13

“The Eastern Bluebird is one of my favorite birds of New England, because I have watched it and fed it and nurtured the nest boxes in our yard and at the Community Gardens in our town. This year Mama and I were invited to be nest box monitors at an old cranberry bog in our town. The Cape Cod Bird Club has 45 nest boxes there, occupied by Eastern Bluebirds, and we take our turn checking on them. I have loved seeing the various stages of growth in the Bluebirds, inspired by Julie Zickfoose’s new book, Baby Birds. I was thrilled a few winters ago to see Eastern Bluebirds in our yard and to watch the males and females at our feeders and bird bath. The males are my favorite color, a kind of Cerulean blue, with the females just slightly duller in color, but not in interest or intelligence. I chose a medium of watercolor for the bluebird because I loved the Cerulean Blue.”

Jamie Davis, Age 13

Jamie Davis, Age 13

White-Throated Needletail, Joseph Jewett, Age 8

“The white-throated needletail is a rare and endangered species. It is a favorite of many birdwatchers because it is one of the fastest birds in the world. In 2013, a needletail got struck by the spinning blades of a wind turbine in the United Kingdom while anxious birdwatchers looked on. My drawing includes a needletail, an airplane, and a wind turbine. It symbolizes the negative impact that modern technologies can have on birds but also how birds have inspired new technologies that create community and help to protect the environment. When I grow up, I want to design turbines that can harvest huge amounts of energy from the wind while keeping birds, bats, and even bugs safe.”

Joseph Jewett, Age 8

Joseph Jewett, Age 8

Gabrielle Ross, Blue Jay Family, Age 7

“I love blue Jays. They are so pretty. I have a family of blue jays in my yard.
Their mom brings the babies food to eat.”

Gabby Ross, Age 7

Gabby Ross, Age 7

Selected artwork from Taking Flight: our juried youth bird art exhibition (Part IV)

We are extremely excited to display a selection of art from our first annual juried youth bird art exhibition. This annual exhibition is open to any children and young adults age 4 to 18 years old. All selected entries will be on display at the Museum of American Bird Art from September 23 to December 11th. Entries for our second annual exhibition will open in early 2017.

Dream Come True, Owen Miyasato, Age 4

“This is a bird flying. I like flying birds and I want to fly.
So this is a picture of a dream come true.”

Owen, Miyasata, Age 4

Owen, Miyasata, Age 4

Great Horned Owl, Bennett Dowers, Age 7

“I started to love birds when I went to Drumlin Farm preschool.
Ever since then I watch for birds in my yard and on hikes.I love great horned owls because they are strong and beautiful, and because they are nocturnal.”

Bennett Dowers, Age 7

Bennett Dowers, Age 7

Northern Saw-whet Owl, Ethan Johnson, Age 12

“Owls are my favorite type of bird because they are nocturnal and see a whole different world than we do. It is fascinating that their necks are so flexible that they can turn their heads up to 270 degrees. They are mysterious because they are rarely seen by humans. I decided to draw the Northern Saw-whet Owl. It is distinct from other owls by its size and ear splitting call. It is very small and has brown and white feathers that help it blend in well with its surroundings. It mostly lives in thick vegetation. They are found almost anywhere in The United States and parts of Mexico and Canada. For the winter they travel to dense forests in central and southern United States. Their diet consists of small rodents including deer mice, young squirrels, small birds, and large insects. In my drawing I first used pencil to sketch it on paper, Sharpie marker to bold the outline of the owl, and oil pastels to bring out the color of the Northern Saw-whet Owl and the background.”

Ethan Johnson, Age 12

Ethan Johnson, Age 12

Selected artwork from Taking Flight: our juried youth bird art exhibition (Part III)

We are extremely excited to display a selection of art from our first annual juried youth bird art exhibition. This annual exhibition is open to any children and young adults age 4 to 18 years old. All selected entries will be on display at the Museum of American Bird Art from September 23 to December 11th. Entries for our second annual exhibition will open in early 2017.

Iris Rosenhagen, Burrowing Owls, Age 11

Burrowing owls are one of my favorite birds because I’ve studied owls a lot and they are very unique. Instead of living in tree cavities, they live in burrows. They are also diurnal as opposed to nocturnal like most other owls. Something very interesting about them, is if they feel threatened in their burrow, a Burrowing Owl will make a rattlesnake buzz sound to scare off predators. Sadly, Burrowing Owls are losing habitat due to construction. I am an avid conservationist and the creator of C.A.R.E., Community for Animal Respect and Education. C.A.R.E. provides opportunities for people to learn about the challenges animals face in today’s world, and inspires people to get involved to help them. I hope to spread awareness about the plight of the Burrowing Owls by submitting my artwork.

 

Iris Rosenhagen, Burrowing Owl, Age 11

Iris Rosenhagen, Burrowing Owl, Age 11

Iris Rosenhagen, B95 Rufa Red Knot

“The Rufa Red Knot is one of my favorite birds because of an inspiring book I read Moonbird by Phillip Hoose. It was about one Red Knot who has lived over 20 years and has amazingly migrated from South America to the Arctic so many times that the distance would be from here to the moon and halfway back. The tag, B95 on his leg allows him to be identified in different places he has flown. I learned a lot of interesting facts about Red Knots. One of the coolest, is that they lose their gizzards when they have a really long flight to make during migration so that they weigh less. When they stop over in Delaware Bay to eat horseshoe crab eggs, they grow it back to digest the food they need for energy to continue their long flight north where they mate.”

Iris Rosenhagen, Red Knot, Age 11

Iris Rosenhagen, Red Knot, Age 11

European Starling, Cayla Rosenhagen, Age 11

“I feel many people don’t appreciate the outer and inner beauty of the European Starling. The amazing iridescence of the starling’s plumage combined with its history of being an immigrant coming to the New World with its plucky, perseverant personality make this bird one of my favorites. The European Starling reminds me of my ancestors coming through Ellis Island, having so much to offer, but not always seen for all they were. People flock to the United States from all over the world…pun intended. Just as the murmuration of the European Starling is so remarkable, the same holds true for all who come to our land in search of a new life.”

Cayla Rosenhage, European Starling, Age 11

Cayla Rosenhage, European Starling, Age 11

Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Cayla Rosenberg, Age 11

“Pollination and patience. Those are the two qualities that make Ruby Throated Hummingbirds one of my favorite birds. Unfortunately, we have seen such a decline in pollinators such as honeybees and monarch butterflies. We’ve tried to do our part by planting native flowering plants and by encouraging others to do so. But it takes patience to heal the Earth. It also takes patience to spot a Ruby Throated Hummingbird! I’ve been fortunate to see them a handful of times and it brings me such excitement to watch them feeding on the nectar of flowers, my heart seems to beat almost as fast as theirs, over a thousand times in a minute while they feed. Patiently I await the next Ruby Throated Hummingbird who comes to do his part in healing the Earth as he pollinates.”

Cayla Rosenhagen, Age 11, Hummingbird

Cayla Rosenhagen, Age 11, Hummingbird