The American robin is active mostly during the day and assembles in large flocks at night. Its diet consists of beetle grubs, earthworms, and caterpillars, fruits, and berries. It is one of the earliest bird species to lay eggs, beginning to breed shortly after returning to its summer range from its winter range. Its nest consists of long coarse grass, twigs, paper, and feathers, and is smeared with mud and often cushioned with grass or other soft materials. It is among the first birds to sing at dawn, and its song consists of several discrete units that are repeated.
This folk art bird carving of an American Robin is carved from Basswood. I used milk paints, various stains, and techniques to age the carving.
The long, narrow bill with serrated edges distinguishes mergansers from all other ducks. Mergansers are among the largest ducks. In flight, they appear more elongated than other ducks, flying in trailing lines close to the water’s surface. The male common mergansers have a greenish-black crested head and upper neck. The lower neck, breast and underparts are creamy-white. They have black backs and upperwing coverts with white scapulars. The female common mergansers have a tufted red-brown head that is clearly defined from the lower neck by a clear whitish chin. The back and sides are silver-gray and the breast and belly are white.
Here is another old folk art piece that I completed in 2011, and photographed in March of 2012. This folk art bird carving of a female Common Merganser is carved from pine, painted with acrylics, and finished with various stains to age the carving. The underside is cut to simulate water, add color, and provide a more streamlined look to the carving. I’ve had two of these carvings sitting on the bench for years and need to finish them this Spring. This post may provide the incentive.
Lemuel T. Ward (1896-1984) and Stephen Ward (1895-1976) are world renowned as decoy makers. Working as a team over their long careers, the two brothers produced a wide variety of decoys in many different styles. Early on Lem and Steve made working decoys, however they gradually progressed into making more decorative renderings of birds. It is the lifelike detail and innovation that the Ward Brothers brought to decoy making that they are now so well regarded for. This short film showcases the lives, legacy, and artwork of the Ward Brothers.
Sandhill Cranes give a loud trumpeting call that can be heard long before you see them. Mated pairs of cranes engage in unison calling. The cranes stand close together, calling in a synchronized and complex duet. The female makes two calls for every one from the male.
Sandhill cranes’ large wingspans, ranging from 5 feet to 7 feet 6 in, make them very skilled soaring birds, similar in style to hawks and eagles. The Sandhill Cranes use thermals to obtain lift, and can stay aloft for many hours — requiring only occasional flapping of their wings and expending little energy. Migratory flocks contain hundreds of birds, and create clear outlines of the normally invisible rising columns of thermals that they ride. The cranes appear to be playing while on their migratory path with no reservations.
This folk art bird carving was carved from old cedar, painted with acrylic paints, and finished with various stains in the aging process.